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O F 


F R O M T H E 






I. On the Origin of ROMANTIC FICTION in EUROPE. 
II. On the Introduction of LEARNING into ENGLAND. 

V O L. I. 


Fellow of Trinity College Oxford, and of the Society of Antiquaries, and 
late Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. 


Printed for, and fold by, J. Dodsley, Pall-Mall; J. Walter, Charing-Crofs ; T. Beckett, 

Strand; J. Roeson, New Bond-Street; G. Robinson, and J. Bew, Pater-nofler-Row ; 

and Meflis. Fletcher, at OxyoRD. M.ucc.lxxv. 











P O L I T E A R T S, 


By his Grace's mofl: obliged, 

And mofi: obedient Servant, 



N an age advanced to the higheft degree of re- 
finement, that fpecies of curiofity commences,, 
which is bufied in contemplating the progrefs of 
focial hfe, in difplaying the gradations of fcience, 
and in tracing the tranfitions from barbarifm to 

That thefe fpeculations fhould become the fa- 
vourite purfuits, and the fafhionable topics, of fuch 
a period, is extremely natural. We look back on 
the favage condition of our anceflors with the 
triumph of fuperiorlty ; we are pleafed to mark the 
fieps by which we have been raifed from rudenefs to 
elegance : and our refle<flions on this fubje6l are accom- 
panied with a.confcious pride, arifing, in great meafure, 
from a tacit comparifon of the infinite difproportion 
between the feeble efforts of remote ages, and our. 
prefent improvements in knowledge. 

A In 



In the mean time, the manners, monuments, 
cufloms, pradices, and opinions of antiquity, by 
forming fo flrong a contrail with thofe of our own 
times, and by exhibiting human nature and human 
inventions in new Hghts, in unexpected appearances, 
and in various forms, are obje6ls which forcibly ftrike 
a feehng imagination. 

Nor does this fpeftacle afford nothing more than 
a fruitiefs gratification to the fancy. It teaches us 
to fet a juft eilimation on our own acquifitions ; and 
encourages us to cherifh that cultivation, which is 
fo clofely connefted with the exiilence and the ex- 
crcife of every fecial virtue. 

On thefe principles, to develope the dawnings of 
genius, and to purfue the progrefs of our national 
poetry, from a rude origin and obfcure beginnings, 
to its perfeftion in a poliflied age, mull prove an 
interefling and inflruclive invefligation. But a hif- 
tory of poetry, for another reafon, yet on the fame 
principles, muft be more efpecially produ6live of en- 
tertainment and utility. I mean, as it is an art, whofe 
objeft is human fociety : as it has the peculiar merit, 
in its operations on that objeft, of faithfully re- 
cording the features of the times, and of pre- 




ferving the mofl pI6lurefque and expreffive repre- 
fentations of manners : and, becaufe the firft mo- 
numents of compofition in every nation are thofe 
of the poet, as it poffeifes the additional advantage 
of tranfmitting to poflerity genuine dehneations of 
life in its fimplell ilages. Let me add, that anec- 
dotes of the rudiments of a favourite art will always 
be particularly plealing. The more early fpeci- 
mens of poetry mufl ever amufe, in proportion 
to the pleafure which we receive from its finiflied 

Much however depends on the execution of fuch a 
delign, and my readers are to decide in what degree 
I have done juflice to fo fpecious and promiiing a 
difquifition. Yet a few more words will not be 
perhaps improper, in vindication, or rather in ex- 
planation, of the manner in which my work has 
been conduced. I am fure I do not mean, nor can 
I pretend, to apologife for its defeds. 

I have chofe to exhibit the hiflory of our poetry 
in a chronological feries : not diflributing my mat- 
ter into detached articles, of periodical divifions, or 
of general heads. Yet I have not always adhered fo 
fcrupuloufly to the regularity of annals, but that I 




have often deviated into incidental digreffions ; and 
have fometimes flopped in the courfe of my career, 
for the fake of recapitulation, for the purpofe of 
collecting fcattered notices into a fingle and uniform 
point of view, for the more exa6l infpe6lion of a 
topic which required a feparate coniideration, o? for a 
comparative furvey of the poetry of other nations, 

A few years ago, Mr. Mason, with that liberality 
which ever accompanies true genius, gave me an au- 
thentic copy of Mr. Pope's fchem.e of a Hillory of 
Englilli Poetry, in which our poets Vv^ere chimed under 
their fuppofed refpeftive fchools. The late lamented 
Mr. Gray had alfo proje6led a work of this kind, 
and tranflated fome Runic odes for its illuflration, 
now publiihed : but foon relinquifhing the profe- 
cution of a defign, which would have detained him 
from his own noble inventions, he moil obligingly 
condefcended to favour me with the fubflance of 
his plan, which I found to be that of Mr. Pope, 
confiderably enlarged, extended, and improved. 

It is vanity in me to have mentioned thefe com- 
munications. But I am apprehenfive my vanity 
will jullly be thought much greater, when it fhall 
appear, that in giving the hiftory of Englifh poetry, 

I have 

P R E F A C E. V 

I have rejeded the ideas of men who are its moft 
diftinguifhed ornaments. To confefs the real truth, 
upon examination and experiment, I foon difcovered 
their mode of treating my fubjed:, plaufible as it is,, 
and brilliant in theory, to be attended with difficult, 
ties and inconveniencies, and productive of embaraff- 
ment both to the reader and the writer. Like other 
ingenious fyftems, it facrificed much ufeful intelli- 
gence to the obfervance of arrangement ; and in the 
place of that fatisfadlion which refults from a clearnefs 
and a fulnefs of information, feemed only to fubfti- 
tute the merit of difpolition, and the praife of contri- 
vance. The conftraint impofed by a mechanical atten- 
tion to this diftribution, appeared to me to deftroy 
that free exertion of refearch with which fuch a 
hiftory ought to be executed, and not eafily recon- 
cileable with that complication, variety, and extent 
of materials, which it ought to comprehend. 

The method I have purfued, on one account at 
leaft, feems preferable to all others. My performance, 
in its prefent form, exhibits without tranfpofition the 
gradual improvements of our poetry, at the fame 
time that it uniformly reprefents the progreffion of 
our language. 

Vol. I. * B Some 


Some perhaps will be of opinion, that thefe annals 
ought to have commenced with a view of the Saxon 
poetry. But befides that a legitimate illuftration of 
that jejune and intricate fubjedt would have almoft 
doubled my labour, that the Saxon language is familiar 
only to a few learned antiquaries, that our Saxon 
poems are for the moft part little more than religious 
rhapfodies, and that fcarce any compofitions remain 
marked with the native images of that people in their 
pagan ftate, every reader that reflects but for a mo- 
ment on our political eftablifhment muft perceive^ 
that the Saxon poetry has no connexion with the 
nature and pu^pofe of my prefent undertaking. Be- 
fore the Norman acceffion, which fucceeded to the 
Saxon government, we were an unformed and an 
unfettled race. That mighty revolution gbliterated 
almoft all relation to the former inhabitants of this 
ifland ; and produced that fignal change in our 
policy, conftitution, and public manners, the effects 
of which have reached modern times. The begins 
ning of thefe annals feems therefore to be moft 
properly dated from that era, when our national 
character began to dawn. 

It was recommended to me, by a perfon eminent 
in the republic of letters, totally to exclude from 



thefe volumes any mention of the Englifli drama. I 
am very fenfible that a juft hiftory of our Stage is 
alone fufficient to form an entire and extenfive w^ork ; 
and this argument, which is by no means pre- 
cluded by the attempt here offered to the public, 
ftill remains feparately to be difcufled, at large, and 
in form. But as it was profefledly my intention to 
comprife every fpecies of Englifh Poetry, this, among 
the reft, of courfe claimed a place in thefe annals, 
and neceiTarily fell into my general delign. At 
the fame time, as in this fituation it could only 
become a fubordinate objed, it was impoffible 
I fhould examine it with that critical preci- 
fion and particularity, which fo large, fo curious, 
and fo important an article of our poetical literature 
demands and deferves. To have confidered it in its 
full extent, would have produced the unwieldy 
excrefcence of a difproportionate epifode : not to 
have confidered it at all, had been an omiffion, 
which muft detract from the integrity of my intended 
plan. I flatter myfelf however, that from evidences 
hitherto unexplored, I have recovered hints which 
may facilitate the labours of thofe, who fliall here- 
after be inclined to inveftigate the antient ftate of 
dramatic exhibition in this country, with due com- 
prehenfion and accuracy. 

*B 2 It 

viii PREFACE. 

It will probably be remarked, that the citations in 
the firft volume are numerous, and fometimes very 
prolix. But it fhould be remembered, that moft of 
thefe are extracted from antient manufcript poems 
never before printed, and hitherto but little known. 
Nor was it eafy to illuftrate the darker and more 
diftant periods of our poetry, without producing ample 
fpecimens. In the mean time, I hope to merit the 
thanks of the antiquarian, for enriching the ftock of 
our early literature by thefe new acceffions : and I truft 
I fhall gratify the reader of tafte, in having fo fre- 
quently refcued from oblivion the rude inventions and 
irregular beauties of the heroic tale, or the romantic 

The defign of the Dissertations is to prepare the 
reader, by confidering apart, in a connedled and 
comprehensive detail, fome material points of a ge- 
neral and preliminary nature, and which could not 
either with equal propriety or convenience be intro- 
duced, at leaft not fo formally difcuffed, in the body 
of the book ; to eftablifh certain fundamental princi- 
ples to which frequent appeals might occasionally be 
made, and to clear the way for various obfervations 
airfing in the courfe of my future enquiries. 




SECTIONS in the First VOLUME. 


C TA T E of Language, Prevalence of the French language 
before and after the Norman conqiieji. Specimens of Norman- 
Saxon poems. Legends in verfe. Ear lief love-Jong, Alexan- 
drine verfcs, Satirical pieces. Firft Englifi metrical romance, 


Satirical ballad in the thirteenth century, T'he kings poet, 
Robert of Gloucejier, Antient political ballads. Robert of 
Brunne. T!he Brut of England. Le Roman le Rou. 
Gejis and jeji ours. Erceldoune and Kendale. Bijhop Grojihead, 
Monks write for the Minftrels, Monajlic libraries full of 
romances. Minftrels admitted into the monafteries. Regnorum 
Chronica and Mirabilia Mundi. Early European travellen 
into the eaft. Elegy on Edward the firft, 


EffeEls of the increaje of tales of chivalry. Rife of chivahy. 
Crufades. Rife and improvemetits of Romance. View of the 
rife of metrical romances, T'heir currency about the end of the 



thirteenth century. French mi7iflreh in Engla?id, Trovencial 
poets. Popular romances. Dares Fhrygius. Guide de Colonna. 
Fabulous hifiories of Alexander. Filpays Fables. Roman 
d'Alexandre. Alexandrines. Com?nunications between the 
French and Englijh minjlrels. Ufe of the Frovencial writers. 
'T'wo forts of troubadours. 


Examination and fpecimens of the metrical romance of Richard 
the Firil. Greek fire. Military machines ufed in the cru fades. 
Mifical inftruments of the Saracen armies. Ignorance of 
geography in the dark ages. 


specimens of other popular metrical romances which appeared about 
the end of the thirteenth century. Sir Guy, ^he Squier of 
Low Degree. Sir Degore. King Robert of Sicily. The 
King of Tars. Ippomedon. La Mort Arthure. Subjects 
of antient tapefiry. 


Adam Davie four ified in the begiiining of the fourteenth century. 
Specimens of his poetry. His Life of Alexander. Robert 
Bajions comedies. Anecdotes of the early periods of the Englifiy 
French, and Italian^ drama. 


Character of the reign of Edward the third. Hampoles Pricke 
of Confcience. 


Pierce Plowman's Vifions. Antient ft ate and original inditution 
of fairs. Donat explained. Antichrift. 




Pierce the Plowman's Crede. Confiitution and charaBer of the 
four orders of mendicant friars. JVickliffe. 


Various fpecimens of alliterative poetry. Ant lent alliterative hymn 
to the Virgin Mary. 


John Barbour s Hiftoiy of Robert Bruce, arid Blind Harry s Sir 
William Wallace. Hijiorical romances of recent events com- 
mence about the clofe of the fourteenth century, Chiefy compofed 
by heralds. CharaSfer and bufnefs of antient heralds. Narra- 
tives written by them. Froijfarfs Hijiory. His life and cha- 
rcSier. RetrofpeSiive view of manners. 


General view of the charaBer of Chaucer. Boccacios Tefeide. • 
A Greek poem on that fubjeB. 'Tournaments at Conjlantinople, 
Common praBice of the Greek exiles to tranflate the popular 
Italian poems. Specimens both of the Greek and Italian Thefeid. 
Critical examination of the Knight's Tale. 


TJje fubjeB of Chaucer continued. His Romaunt of the Rofe. 
William of Lorris a?id John of Meun. Specifnens of the French 
Le Roman de la Rofe. Improved by Chaucer. William of 
Lorris excells in allegorical perfonages. Petrarch diflikes this 


Chaucer continued. His Troilus and CrelTeide. Boccacio^s 
Troilo. Sentimental and pathetic Jlrokes in Chancers poem, 
Houfe of Fame. A Provencial compoftion. Analyfed. 
Improperly imitated by Pope. 



S E C T I O N XV. 

Chaucer continued. I'he fuppofed occafion of his Canterbury Tales 

fuperior to that of Boccacio's Decameron. Squire's Tale, 

Chaucer s capital poem. Origin of its fiSlions. Story o/* Patient 

Grifilde. Its origin, popularity , and charadterifiic excellence. 

How conducted hy Chaucer. 


Chaucer continued, ^ale of the Nun's Priell. Its origin and 
allifions. January and May. Its imitations. Licentioufnefs 
of Boccacio. Miller's Tale. Its ffigular humour and ridi- 
culous charaBers. Other Tales of the comic fpecies. Their ori- 
gin, allufions, a?id refpeSfive merits. Rime of Sir Thopas. 
Its defign and tendency. 


Chaucer continued. General 'view of the Prologues to the Can- 
terbury Tales. The PriorelTe. The Wife of Bath. The 
Frankelein. The Do6lor of Phyficke. State of medical 
erudition and praBice. Medicine and aflronomy blended. 
Chaucer s phyficians library, hearning of the Spaniflo fews. 
The Sompnour. The Pardonere. The Monke. Salifica- 
tions of an abbot. The Frere. The Parfoune. The Squire. 
Englijh crufades into Lithuania. The Reeve. The Clarke of 
Oxenford. The Serjeaunt of Lawe. The Hofte. Supple- 
mental Tale, or Hiflory of Beryn. Analyfed and examined. 


Chaucer continued. State of French and Italian poetry : and their 
influence on Chaucer. Rife of allegorical compofition in the dark 
ages. Love-courts, and Love fraternities, in France. Tales of 
the troubadours. Dolopathos. Boccacio, Dante, and Petrarch. 
Decline of Frovencial poetry. Succeeded in France by a new 
fpecies. Froiffart. 7/6^ Floure and the Leafe. Floral gatnes in 
France. Allegorical beings. 

O N 


■ <..i^... ■■s a nj 



O F 



TH AT peculiar and arbitrary fpecies of Fidion which 
we commonly call Romantic, was entirely unknown 
to the writers of Greece and Rome. It appears to 
have been imported into Europe by a people, whofe modes of 
thinking, and habits of invention, are not natural to that 
country. It is generally fuppofed to have been borrowed 
from the Arabians. But this origin has not been hitherto 
perhaps examined or afcertained with a fufficient degree of 
accuracy. It is my prefent defign, by a more diftin6l and 
extended inquiry than has yet been applied to the fubje<51:, 
to trace the manner and the period of its introduction into 
the popular belief, the oral poetry, and the literature, of 
the Europeans. 

It is an eftabliilied maxim of modern criticifm, that the 

fiftions of Arabian imagination were communicated to the 

Vol. I. a weflern 


weflern world by means of the crufades. Undoubtedly thofe 
expeditions greatly contributed to propagate this mode of 
fabling in Europe. But it is evident, although a circum-- 
ilance which certainly makes no material difference as to the 
principles here eftabliflied, that thefe fancies were intro- 
duced at a much earlier period. The Saracens, or Arabians, 
having been for fome time feated on the northern coafts of 
Africa, entered Spain about the beginning of the eighth cen- 
tury \ Of this country they foon efFe6led a complete con- 
queft : and impohng their religion, language, and cuftoms, 
upon the inhabitants, ere6led a royal feat in the capital city 
of Cordoua. 

That by m^ans of this eilablifhment they firll revived the 
fciences of Greece in Europe, will be proved at large in 
another place '' : and it is obvious to conclude, that at the 
fame time they dilTeminated thofe extravagant inventions . 
which were fo peculiar to their romantic and creative genius. 
A manufcript cited by Du Cange acquaints us, that the 
Spaniards, foon after the irruption of the Saracens, entirely 
neg^lefted the ftudy of the Latin language j and captivated 
with the novelty of the oriental books imported by thefe 
ftrangers, fuddenly adopted an unufual pomp of ilyle, and 
an affe6led elevation of diftion ^ The ideal tales of thefei 
eaflern invaders, recommended by a brilliancy of defcrip- 
tion, a variety of imagery, and an exuberance of invention, 
hitherto unknown and unfamiliar to the cold and barren 
conceptions of a weftern climate, were eagerly caught up, 
and univerfally difFufed. From Spain, by the communica- 
tions of a conftant commercial intercourfe through the 
ports of Toulon and Marfeitles, they foon pafled into France, 
and Italy. 

» See Almakin, edit. Pocock..p. 72. Cang. Glofi". Med. Inf. Latinitat. torn. 1, 

*" See the fecond DifTertatlon. Prasf. p. xxvii, §. 31.. 

' *•' Arabico eloquio fublimati. Sec. Du 



In France, no province, or diflri6l, feems to have giveit 
tliefe fi6lions of the Arabians a more v^elcome or a more 
^ariy reception, than the inhabitants of Armorica or BafTe 
Bretagne, now Britany; for no part of France can boaft 
fo great a number of antient romances '. Many poems of 
high antiquity, compofed by the Armorican bards, ftill re- 
main ^ and are frequently cited by father Lobineau in his 
learned hiftory of BaiTe Bretagne '. This territory was as it 
were newly peopled in the fourth century by a colony or 
army of the Welfli, who migrated thither under the con- 
dud of Maximus a Roman general in Britain \ and Conau 

*= The reafon on which this conclufion 
IS founded will appear hereafter. 

"i In the Britiih Mufeum is a fet of 
old French tales of chivalry in verfe, writ- 
ten, as it feems, by the bards of Bretagne. 
MSS. Harl. 9^8. 107. 

" Tristram a Wales" is mentioned, 
f. 171. b. 

Triftram ki bien faveit Harpeir. 

In the adventure of the knightELiDUC. 
f. 172. b. 

En Bretaigne un chevalier 
Pruz, e curteis, hardi, e fier. 

Again, under the fame champion, f. 173. 

; II tient fun chemin tut avant 
A la mer vient fi eft pafTez 
En Toteneis eft arrivez 
Tliifurs reis ot en la tere 
Entre eus eurent e ftrif e guere 
Vers Exceftre en cil pais. 

T'oTENEis is Totnefs in Devonifhire.— 
Under the knight Milun. f. 166. 

Milun fu de Suthwales nez. 

He is celebrated for his exploits in Ireland, 
Norway, Gothland, Lotharingia, Albany, 

Under Launval, f. 154. b. 

En Bretains lapelent Launval. 

Under GuiGEMAR. f. 141. 

La chambre eft peint Pit entar 
Venus dc devefle damur 

Futres bien en la paintur 

Le traiz muftres e la natilr 

Coment hume deit amur tenir 

E lealment e bien fervir 

Le livre Ovide ou il enfeine, &c. 

This defcription of a chamber painted with 
Venus and the three myfteries of nature, 
and the allufion to Ovid, prove the tales 
before us to be of no very high antiquity. 
But they are undoubtedly taken from others 
much older, of the fame country, At the 
end of Eli Due's tale we have thefe lines. 
f. 181. 

Del aventure de ces trais 
Li auntien Br it UN curteis 
Flvent le I at pour remember 
Q^um nel deuft pas oublier. 

And under the tale of Fresne, f. 148. 

Li Br I TUN enfirent un lai. 

At the concbfion of moft of the tales it is 
faid that thefe Lais were made by the poets 
of Bretaiene. Another of the tales is thus 
elofed. f. 146. 

Que ceft kunte ke oi avez 
Fu Guigemar le lai trouvez 
QJium fait en harpe en rote 
Bone eft a oir la note. 

HiSTOiRE DE Bretagne, ii. tom. 


' Maximus appears to have fet up a fe- 

parate intereft in Britain, and to have 

engaged an army of the provincial Britons 

on his' fide, againft the Pvomans. Not 

2 fucceeding 


lord of Meiiiadoc or Denbigh-land ^ The Armoric language 
now fpoken in Britany is a diale6l of the Welfh : and fb 
ftrong a refemblance flill fubfifts between the two languages, 
that in our late conquefl of Belleille, fuch of our foldiers as 
were natives of Wales were underitood by the peafantry. 
Milton, whofe imagination was much ftruck with the old 
Britifh ftory, more than once alludes to the V/elfli colony 
planted in Armorica by Maximus and the prince of Meiriadoc. 

' Et tandem Armoricos Britonum fub lege colonos •". 

And in the Paradise Lost he mentions indifcriminatelv 
the knights of Wales and Armorica as the cuflomary^ 
retinue of king Arthur. 

« What refounds 

In fable or romance, of Uther's fon 

Begirt with British and Armoric knights '. 

This migration of the Welfh into Britany or Armorica, 
which during the diftraftions of the empire, in confequence 
of the numerous armies of barbarians with which Rome was 
furrounded on every fide, had thrown off its dependence on 
the Romans, feems to have occafioned a clofe conne6lion 
between the two countries for many centuries ". Nor will 

fuccceding in his defigns, he was obliged 
to retire with his Britifh troops to the 
continent, as in the text. He had a con- 
fiderable intereft in Wales, having married 
Ellena daughter of Eudda a powerful chief- 
tain of North-wales. She was born at 
Caernarvon, where her chapel is Hill ftiewn. 
Mon. Antiq. p. 166. feq. 

s See Hift. de Bretagne, par d'Argentre, 
p. 2. Powel's Wales, p. i. 2. feq. and 
p. 6. edit. 1584. Lhuyd's Etymol. p. 32. 
col. 3. And Galfrid, Mon. Hist. Brit. 
Lib. V. c. I 2. vii. 3. ix. 2. Compare Borlafe, 
Antiq. Cornwall, B. i. ch. 10. p. 40. 

^ Mansus. 

' Parad. L. i. 579. Compare Pelloutier, 
Mem. far la Langue Celt. fol. torn. i. 19. 

^ This feceffion of the Welfh, at fo cri- 
tical a period, was extremely natural, into a 
neighbouring maritime country, with which 
they had conftantly trafHcked, and which, 
like themfelves, had difclaimed the Roman 
yoke. It is not related in any Greek or 
Roman hiftorian. But their filence is by 
no means a fufficient warrant for us to re- 
jedl the numerous teflimonies of the old 
Britifla writers concerning this event. It is 
mentioned, in particular, by Llywarchen, 
a famous bard, who lived only one hundred 
and fifty years afterwards. Many of his 
poems are IHU extant, in which he cele- 
brates his twenty-four fons who wore gold 
chains, and were all killed in battles againfl; 
the Saxons, 



it prove lefs neceflary to our purpofe to obferve, that the 
Cornifli Britons, whofe language was another dialecl of the 
antient Britifh, from the fourth or fifth century downwards, 
maintained a no lefs intimate correfpondence with the natives 
of Armorica : intermarrying with them, and perpetually re- 
forting thither for the education of their children, for ad- 
vice, for procuring troops againft the Saxons, for the pur- 
pofes of trafFick, and various other occafions. This con- 
nexion was fo ftrongly kept up, that an ingenious French 
antiquary fuppofes, that the communications of the Armori- 
cans with the Cornifh had chiefly contributed to give a 
roughnefs or rather hardnefs to the romance or French 
language in fome of the provinces, towards the eleventh 
century, which was not before difcernible '. And this inter- 
courfe will appear more natural, if we coniiderj that not 
only Armorica, a maritime province of Gaul, never much 
fi-equented by the Romans, and now totally deferted by 
them, was ftill in fome meafure a Celtic nation j but that alfo 
the inhabitants of Cornwall, together with thofe of Devonfhire 
and of the adjoining parts of Somerfetfhire, intermixing in 
a very flight degree with the Romans, and having fuffered 
fewer important alterations in their original conftitution and 
cufloms from the imperial laws and police than any other 
province of this ifland, long preferved their genuine manners 
and Britifh chara6ler : and forming a fort of feparate princi- 
pality under the government of a fucceffion of powerful 
chieftains, ufually denominated princes or dukes of Corn-- 
wall, remained partly in a flate of independence during the 
Saxon heptarchy, and were not entirely reduced till the Nor- 
man conquefl. Cornwall, in particular, retained its old 
Geltic dialeft till the reign of Elizabeth '". 

' M. I'Abbe Lebeuf. Recherches, &c. ** tout celui des haeitaks de l'Ar- 

Mem. de Litt. torn. xvii. p. 718. edit. 4to. ** morique avec l'Anglois^ versl'on- 

" Je penfe que cela dura jufqu'a ce que le *' zieme fiecle, &c." 

•* commerce de ces provinces avec les peu- "' See Camd. Brit, i, 44. edit* 1723. 

** pies duNord, et de rAllemagne, et suj Lhuyd's Arch. p. 253. 




And here I dlgrefs a moment to remark, that in the circum- 
ftance juft mentioned about Wales, of its conne6lion with Ar- 
morica, we perceive the folution of a difficulty which at firft 
light appears extremely problematical: I mean, not only 
that Wales fhould have been fo conftantly made the theatre 
of the old Britifh chivalry, but that fo many of the favorite 
fiftions which occur in the early French romances, fliould 
alfo be literally found in the tales and chronicles of the 
elder Wellli bards ". It was -owing to the perpetual com- 
munication kept up between the Welfh, and the people of 
Armorica who abounded in thefe fi6lions, and who na- 
turally took occafion to interweave them into the hiftory of 
their friends and allies. Nor are we now at a lofs to give 
the reafon why Cornwall, in the fame French romances, is 
made the fcene and the fubje6l of fo many romantic adven- 
tures °. In the meantime we may obferve, what indeed 
has been already implied, that a flridl intercourfe was upheld 
between Cornwall and Wales. Their languages, cufloms, 
and alliances, as I ha^/e hinted, were the fame; and they 
were feparated only by a ftrait of inconfiderable breadtli, 
Cornwall is frequently flyled Weft- Wales by the Britifh 
writers. At the invafion of the Saxons, both countries 
became indifcriminately the receptacle of the fugitive Bri- 
tons. We find the Welfh and Cornifh, as one people, often 
uniting themfelves as in a national caufe againft the Saxons. 
They w.ere frequently fubje6l to the fame prince '', who fome- 

'^ The {lory of LE COURT MiNTEL, or 
the Boy and the Mantle, told by an 
old French troubadour cited by M. de Sainte 
Palaye, is recorded in many manufcript 
Welih chronicles, as I learn from original 
letters of Lhuyd in theAfhmoIean Mufeum. 
See Mem. x-lnc. Chcv. i. 119. And Obf. 
'Spenfer, i. §. ii. p. 54. 55. And from 
tlie fame authority I am informed, that the 
fidion of the giant's coat compofed of the 
beards of the kings whom he had con- 
quered, is related .in the legends of the 
bards of both countries. See Obf. Spenf. 

ut fupr. p. 24. feq. But -inftances are in- 

° Hence in the Armorican tales jufl 
quoted, mention is made of Totnefs and 
Exeter, anciently included in Cornwall. In 
Chaucer's Romaunt of t«e Rose we 
have " Hornpipis of Cornewalle," among 
a great variety of mufical inftruments. v. 
4250. This is literally from the French 
original, v. 3991. 

P Who was fometimcs chofen from Wales 
and Cornwall, and fometimes from A.B.- 
MORiCA. Eorlafe, ubi fupr. p. 403. ■ See 



times refided in Wales, and fometimes in Cornwall ^ and 
the kings or dukes of Cornwall were perpetually fung by the 
Welfh bards. Llygad Gwr, a Welfli bard, in his fublime 
and fpirited ode to Llwellyn, fon of Grunfludd, the laft 
prince of Wales of the Britifh line, has a wifh, " May the 
" prints of the hoofs of my prince's fteed be feen as far as 
" Cornwall "'. Traditions about king Arthur, to mention 
no more inftances, are as popular in Cornwall as in Wales : 
and moft of the romantic caftles^ rocks, rivers, and caves, 
of both nations, are alike at this day diflinguiflied by fome 
noble atchievement, at lead by the name, of that celebrated 
champion. But to return. 

About the year iiooi Gualter, archdeacon of Oxford, a 
learned man, and a diligent colle6lor of hiftories, travelling 
through France, procured in Armorica an antient chronicle 
written in the Britifh or Armorican language, entitled, Brut- 
y-Brenhined, or The History of the Kings of Bri- 
tain '. This book he brought into England, and communi- 
cated . it to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Welfh. Benedi6line 
monk, an elegant writer of Latin, and admirably fkilled in 
the Britifh tongue. Geoffrey, at the requefl and recommen- 
dation of Gualter the archdeacon, tranflated this Britifli- 
chronicle into Latin % executing the translation with a tole- 
rable degree of purity and great fidelity, yet not without 

alfo p. 375. 377. 393. And Concil. 3pel- 
man. torn. i. 9. 112. edit. 1639. fol. Stil- 
lingfleet's Orig. Brit. ch. 5. p. 344. feq. 
edit. 1688. fol. From Cornuwallia, 
ufed by the Latin monkifh hiftorians, came 
the prefent name Cornwall. Borlafe, ibid. 
p. 325. 

•I Evans, p. 43. 

^ Itt the curious library of the family of 
Davies at Llanerk in Denbighfhire, there 
is a copy of this chronicle in the hand- 
writing of Guttyn Owen, a celebrated 

Welfh bard and antiquarian about the year 
147X), who afcribes it to Tyffilio a bifliop,, 
and the fon of Bfockmael-Yfcythroc prince 
of Powis. Tyffilio indeed wrote a His- 
tory OF Britain ; ,but that work, as 
we are afTured by Lhuyd in the A r c h .e - 
LOG I a, was entirely ecclefiaftical, and has 
been long fince loft. 

= SeeGalfr. Mon. L. i. c. 1. xii. i. 20, 
ix. 2.- Bale, ii. 65. Thompfon's Pref. to 
Geoffrey's Hilt. Tranfl. edit. Lond. 17 18. 
p. XXX. xvii 


rD I S S E R T A T I O ISJ : CI. 

fome interpolations 
year 1138 *. 

It was probably finifhed after tlic 

* GeofFrey confefTes, that he took fome 
part of his account of king Arthur's at- 
chievements from the mouth of his friend 
Gualter, the archdeacon ; who probably 
related to the tranflator fome of the tradi- 
tions on this fubjedt which he had heard in 
Armorica, or which at that time might 
have been popular in Wales. Hift. Brit. 
Galfr. Mon. lib. xi. c. i. He alfo_ owns 
that Merlin's prophecies were not in the 
Armorican original. lb. vii. 2. Compare 
Thompfon's Pref. ut fupr. p. xxv. xxviL 
The fpeeches and letters were forged by 
GeofFrey ; and in the defcription of bat- 
tles, our tranflator has not fcrupled fre- 
quent variations and additions. 

I am obliged to an ingenious antiqua- 
rian in Britilh literature, Mr. Morris of 
Penbryn, for the following curious remarks 
concerning Geoffrey's original and his tranf- 
lation. " Geoffrey's Sylvius, in the 
" Britifli original, is SiLius, which in 
*' Latin would make Julius. This il- 
*' luftrates and confirms Lambarde's, Bru- 
*' Tus Julius. Peramb. Kent, p. 12. 
■•' So alfo in the Britifli bards. And hence 
*' Milton's objeftion is removed. Hifl:. 
** Engl. p. 12. There are no Flamines 
•* orARCHFLAMiNEsin the Britifli book. 
*' See Uftier's Primord. p. 57. Dubl. edit. 
'* There are very few fpeeches in the ori- 
" ginal, and thofe very ftiort. .Geoffrey's 
" FuLGENius is in the Britifli copy Sv- 
"« LIEN, which by analogy in Latin would 
-«' beJuLiANUs. See Milton's Hift. Eng. 
** p. 100. There is no Lei L in the Bri- 
*' tifli; that king's name was Lleon. 
*' Geoffrey's Caerlisle is in the Britifli 
'" Caerlleon, or Weft-Chefler. In the 
*' Britifli, Llaw ap Cynfarch, fhould 
«< have been tranflated Leo, which is now 
«' rendered Loth. This has brought much 
*' confufion into the old Scotch hiftory^ I 
*• find no Belinus in the Britifli copy ; 
" the name is Eeli, which fhould have 
" been in Latin Belius, or Belgius. 
*' Geoffrey's Brennus in the original is 
♦' Bran, a common name among the Bri- 
" tons; as Bran ap Dvfnwal, &c. 

*' See Suidas's Bp^Jy. It appears by the 
** original, that the Britifli name of Ca- 
*• RAUsius was Carawn ; hence Tre- 
•* garaun, i. e. Tregaron, and the 
*• river Car auk, which gives name to 
" Abercorn, In the Britifli there is no 
** divifion into books and chapters , a mark 
" of antiquity. Thole whom the tranf- 
" lator calls Consuls of Rome, when 
*' Brennus took it, are in the original 
" TwYsoGiON, i. e. princes or generals^ 
" The Gwalenfes, Gwalo, or Gwalas, 
" are added by Geoffrey, B. xii. c. 19." 
To what is here obferved about Silius, 
I will add, that abbot Whethamfted, in his 
MS. Granarium, mentions Siloius 
the fatlier of Brutus. " Quomodo Brutus 
" SiLoii filiub ad litora Angliae venit,'* 
&c. Granar. Part. i. Lit. A. MSS, 
Cotton. Nero, C. vi. Brit. Muf. This 
gentleman has in his poflTefTion a very an- 
tient manufcript of the original, and has 
been many years preparing materials for 
giving an accurate and faithful tranflatioc 
of it into Englilh. The manufcript in 
Jefus college library at Oxford, which 
Wynne pretends to be the fame which 
GeofFrey himfelf made ufe of, is evidently 
not older than the fixteenth century. Mr. 
Price, the Bodleian librarian, to whofe 
friendfhip this work is much indebted, has 
two copies lately given him by Mr. Banks, 
much more antient and perfeft. But there 
is reafon to fufpeft, that moft of the Britifli 
manufcripts of this hiftory are tranflations 
from Geoffrey's Latin : for Britannia they 
have Bryttaen, which in the original 
would have been Prydain. Geoflrey's 
tranflation, and for obvious reafons, is 3 
very common manufcript. Compare Lhuyd's 
Arch. p. 265. 

' Thompfon fays, 1 1 28- ubi fupr. p. 
XXX. Geoffrey's age is afcertaincd beyond 
a doubt, even if other proofs were wanting, 
from the cotemporaries whom he mentions. 
Such as Robert earl of Gloeeiler, natural 
fon of Henry the .firft, and Alexander bi- 
fhop of Lincoln, his patrons ; he mentions 
alio William of Malmefbury, and Henry of 



It 15 difficult to afcertain exa6lly the period at which our 
Uanflator's original romance may probably be fuppofed to 
have been compiled. Yet this is a curious fpeculation, and 
will illuftrate our argument. I am inclined to think that. 
the work confifts of fables thrown out by different rhap- 
fodifls at different times, which afterwards were colle6led 
and digefled into an entire hiftory, and perhaps with new 
decorations of fancy added by the compiler, who mofl pro- 
bably was one of the profeffed bards, or rather a poetical 
hiftorian, of Armorica or Baffe Bretagne. In this ilate, and 
under this form, I fuppofe it to have fallen into the hands 
of Geoffrey of Monmouth. If the hypothelis hereafter ad- 
vanced concerning the particular fpecies of fi6lion on which 
this narrative is founded, fliould be granted, it cannot, from 
what I have already proved, be more antient than the eighth 
century : and we may reafonably conclude, that it was 
compofed much later, as fome confiderable length of time 
mufl have been neceffary for the propagation and eflablifh- 
ment of that fpecies of fi6lion. The fimple fubje6t of this 
clironicle, divefted of its romantic embellifhments, is a de- 
du6bion of the Welfli princes from the Trojan Brutus to 
Cadwallader, who reigned in the feventh century ". It muft 

Huntingdon. Wharton places GeofFrey's 
death in the year 1 154. Epifc. AfTav. p. 
306. Robert de Monte, who continued 
Sigebert's chronicle down to the year 1183, 
in the preface to that work exprefly fays, 
that he took fome of the materials of his 
fupplement from the Historia Brito- 
NUM, lately tranjlated out of Britijh into 
Latin. This was manifeflily GeofFrey's 
book. Alfred of Beverly, who evidently 
wrote his Ann ALES, publifhed by Hearne, 
between the years 1148 and 1150, bor- 
rowed his account of the Britifti kings from 
GeoiFrey's Historia, whofe words he 
fometimes literally tranfcribes. For in- 
ftance, Alfred, in fpeaking of Arthur's 
keeping Whitfuntide at Caerleon, fays, 
that the Historia Britonum enume- 
rated all the kings who came thitter on 
• Yoi. I. 

Arthur's invitation : and then adds, "Praa- 
** ter hos non remanfit princeps alicujus 
*' pretii citra Hifpaniam qui ad iftud edic- 
" turn non venerit." Alured. Bev. Annal. 
p. 63. edit. Hearne. Thefe are GeofFrey's 
own words ; and fo much his own, that 
they are one of his additions to the Britifh 
original. But the curious reader, who de- 
fires a complete and critical difcufCon of 
this point, may confult an original letter of 
bifhop Lloyd, preferved among Tanner's 
manufcripts at Oxford, num. 94. 

" This notion of their extraftion from 
the Trojans had fo infatuated the Welfh, 
that even fo late as the year 1284, arch- 
bifhop Peckham, in his injunftions to the 
diocefe of St. Afaph, orders the people to 
abftain from giving credit to idle dreams 
and vifions, a fuperftitiou which they had 
b con-. 


be acknowledged, that many European nations were antiently^ 
fond of tracing their defcent from Troy. Hunnibaldus Fran- 
cus, in his Latin hiilory of France, written in the fixth cen-- 
tury, beginning with the Trojan war, and ending withClovis 
the firft, afcribes the origin of the French nation to Francic^ 
^ fon of Priam *. So univerfal was this humour, and car- 
ried to fuch an abfurd excefs of extravagance, that under 
the reign of Juftinian, even the Greeks were ambitious of 
being thought to be defcended from the Trojans, their an- 
tient and notorious enemies. Unlefs we adopt the idea of 
thofe antiquaries, who contend that Europe was peopled 
from Phrygia, it will be hard to difcover at what period, or 
from what fource, fo ftrange and improbable a notion could 
take its rife, efpecially among nations unacquainted with' 
hiftory, and overwhelmed in ignorance. The mofl: rational 
mode of accounting for it, is to fuppofe, that the revival of 
Virgil's Eneid about the fixth or feventh century, which re- 
prefented the Trojans as the founders of Rome, the capital 
of the fupreme pontiff, and a city on various other accounts 
in the early ages of chrillianity highly reverenced and dif- 
tinguilhed, occaiioned an emulation in many other European 
nations of claiming an alliance to the fame refpe(5lable origi- 
nal. The monks and other ecclefiaflics, the only readers 
and writers of the age, were likely to broach, and were in- 
terefted in propagating, fuch an opinion. As the more bar- 
barous countries of Europe began to be tindlured with lite- 
rature, there was hardly one of them but fell into the fafliion. 
of deducing its original from fome of the nations moft cele- 
brated in the antient books. Thofe who did not afpire fo 

contra£lecI from their belief In thedream of cil. Wilkins, torn. ii. p. 106. edit. 1737. 

their founder Brutus, in the temple of fol. 

Diana, concerning his arrival in Britain. ^ It is among the Scriptores Rer, 

Thearchbifhop very ferioufly advifes them German. Sim. Schard. torn. i. p. 301, 

to boaft no more of their relation to the edit. Bafili 1574. fol. It COnfilla of eighteen 

conquered and fugitive Trojans, but to glory books. 

in the viftorious crofs of Chrift. Con- 



high as king Priam, or who found that claim preoccupied, 
boafled to be defcended from fome of the generals of Alexander 
the Great, from Prufias king of Bithynia, from the Greeks 
or the Egyptians. It it not in the mean time quite impro- 
bable, that as mofl of the European nations were provincial 
to the Romans, thofe who fancied themfelves to be of Trojan 
extra6lion might have imbibed this notion, at leaft have ac- 
quired a general knowledge of the Trojan flory, from their 
conquerors : more efpecially the Britons, who continued fo 
long under the yoke of Rome". But as to theftory of Brutus 
in particular, Geoffrey's hero, it may be prefumed that his 
legend was not contrived, nor the hiflory of his fuccefTors 
invented, till after the ninth century: for Nennius, who 
lived about the middle of that century, not only fpeaks of 
Brutus with great obfcurity and inconfiftency, but feems 
totally uninformed as to every circumftance of the Britifh 
affairs ^which preceded Cefar's invafion. There are other 
proofs that this piece could not have exifted before the ninth 
century. Alfred's Saxon tranflation of the Mercian law is 
mentioned ''. Charlemagne's Twelve Peers, and by an ana- 
chronifm not uncommon in romance, are faid to be prefent 
at king Arthiu^'s magnificent coronation in the city of Caer- 
leon ^. It were eafy to produce inflances, that this chronicle 
was undoubtedly framed after the legend of faint Urfula,, 
theafls of faint Lucius, and the hiflorical writings of the 
venerable Bede, had undergone fome degree of circulation in 
the world. At the fame time it contains many pafTages which 
incline us to determine, that fome parts of it at leafl were 
written after or about the eleventh century. I will not infifl 
on that paffage, in which the title of legate of the apoflolic 
fee is attributed to Dubricius in the chara6ler of primate of 
Britain j as it appears for obvious reafons to have been an 
artful interpolation of the tranflator, who was an ecclefiaflic. 
But I will feleft other arguments. Canute's forefl, or Can- 

* See infr. SECT.iii. p. 127, 128, ^L. iii. c. 13. «L. ix. c. 12. 

b 2 nock- 



nock- wood in Staffordfliire occurs j and Canute died in the 
year 1036 ^. At the ideal coronation of king Arthur, juft 
mentioned, a tournament is defcribed as exhibited in its 
higheft fplendor. " Many knights, fays our Armoric fa- 
bler, famous for feats of chivah'y, were prefent, with ap- 
parel and arms of the fame colour and fafhion. They 
formed a fpecies of diverfion, in imitation of a fight on 
horfeback, and the ladies being placed on the walls of 
the caftles, darted amorous glances on the combatants. 
None of thefe ladies efleemed any knight worthy of her 
love, but fuch as had given proof of his gallantry in three 
** feveral encounters. Thus the valour of the men encou- 
" raged chaftity in the women, and the attention of the wo- 
*' men proved an incentive to the foldier's bravery \" Here 
is the pra6lice of chivalry under the combined ideas of love 
and military prowefs, as they feem to have fubfifled after the 
feudal conftitution had acquired greater degrees not only of 
ftability but of fplendor and refinement ^ And although a 
fpecies of tournament was exhibited in France at the recon- 
ciliation of the fons of Lewis the feeble, in the clofe of the 
ninth century, and at the beginning of the tenth, the co- 
ronation of the emperor Henry was folemnized with mar- 
tial entertainments, in which many parties were introduced 
fighting on horfeback ; yet it was long afterwards that thefe 
games were accompanied with the peculiar formalities, and 
ceremonious ufages, here defcribed \ In the mean time, we 








* L. vii. c. 4. 

^ L. ix. c. I 2. 

*• Pitts mentions an anonymous writer un- 
der the name of Eremita Britannus, 
who ftudied hiftory and aftronomy, and 
flourifhed about the year 720. He wrote, 
befides a book in an unknown language, 
entitled, Safuhem Graal, De Rege Arthuro 
et rebus gejiis ejus. Lib. i. De Men/a rc/««- 
a'a ^/ Strenuis Ec^iTiBus, lib. i. See 
Pitf. p. 122. Bale, x. 21. Uffer. Primord. 
p. 17. This fubjeft could not have been 
treated by fo early a writer. 

^ See infr. Sect. iii. p. 109. xii. p. 
347, 348. I will here produce, from that 
learned orientalift M. D'Herbelot, fome 
curious traites of Arabian knight-errantry, 
which the reader may apply to the princi- 
ples of this DifTertation as he pleafes. 

'* B ATT HALL. — Unc homme hardi et 
*' vaillant, qui cherche des a'vantures tels 
** qu' etoient les chevaliers crrans de nos 
** anciens Romans." He adds, that Batt- 
hall, an Arabian, who lived about the year 
of Chrift 740, was a warrior of this clafs, 
concerning whom many marvellous feats of 



cannot anfwer for the innovations of a trandator In fuch a 
defcription. The burial of Hengift, the Saxon chief, who is 
laid to have been interred not after the pagan fafhion, as 
Geoffrey renders the words of the original, but after the 
manner of the Sol dans, is partly an argument that our ro- 
mance was compofed about the time of the crufades. It was 
not till thofe memorable campaigns of miftaken devotion had 
infatuated the weftern world, that the foldans or fultans of 
Babylon, of Egypt, of Iconium, and other eaftern kingdoms, 
became familiar in Europe. Not that the notion of this piece 
being written fo late as the crufades in the leaft invalidates 
the do6lnne delivered in this difcourfe. Not even if we fup- 
pofe that Geoffrey of Monmouth was its original conipofer„ 
That notion rather tends to confirm and eftablifh my fyffem. 
On the whole we may venture to afhrm, that tliis chronicle, 
fuppofed to contain the ideas of the Welfli bards, entirely 
confifts of Arabian inventions. And, in this view, no dif- 
ference is made whether it was compiled about the tenth 
century, at which time, if not before, the Arabians from 
their fettlement in Spain muff have communicated their ro- 
mantic fables to other parts of Europe, efpecially to the 
French; or whether it firil appeared in the eleventh cen- 
tury, after the crufades had multiplied thefe fables to an ex- 
ceffive degree, and made them univerfally popular. And al- 
though the general caff of the inventions contained in this 
romance is alone fufficient to point out the fource from 
whence they were derived, yet I chufe to prove to a demon- 
ftration what is here advanced, by producing and examining, 
fome particular paffages. 

The books of the Arabians and Perfians abound with ex- 
travagant traditions about the giants Gog and Magog. Thefe 
they call Jagiouge and MagiougCi and the Caucafian wallj 

arms are reported : that his life was written library at Paris, there is an Arabian book 

in a large volume, *' mais qu'elle eft toute entitled, " Scirat al ?yIogiah-edir,'' i. e. 

** xfm^\&^ exaggerations t\.^t menter'ies." ** The Lives of the moft valiant Cham- 

Bibl. Qriental. p. 193, a., b. In the royal ** pions. Num. 1079. 



faid to be built by Alexander the Great from the Cafpian to 
the Black Sea, in order to cover the frontiers of his domi- 
nion, and to prevent the incurfions of the Sythians '^, is cal- 
led by the orientals the Wall of Gog and Magog '. One of 
the mofl formidable giants, according to our Armorican ro- 

"^ Compare M. Petis de la Croix, Hifl. 
Genghizcan, I. iv. c. 9. 

^ Herbelot. Bibl. Oriental, p. 157. 
291. 318. 438. 470.528.795. 796.811, 
Sec. They call Tartary the land of Ga- 
jiouge and Majiouge. This wall, fome few 
fragments of which ftill remain, they pre- 
tend to have been built with all forts of 
metals. See Abulfaraj Hift. Dynaft. edit. 
Pococke, p. 62. A. D. 1673. It was an 
old tradition among the Tartars, that the 
people of Jajgioue and Majiouge were 
perpetually endeavouring to make a paffage 
through this fortrefs ; but that they would 
not fucceed in their attempt till the day of 
judgment. See Hift. Geneal. des Tartars, 
d'Abulgazi Eahadut Khan. p. 43. About 
the year 808, the caliph Al Amin having 
heard wonderful reports concerning this 
wall or barrier, fent his interpreter Salam, 
with a guard of fifty men, to view it. After 
a dangerous journey of near two months, 
Salam and his party arrived in a defolated 
country, where they beheld the ruins of 
many cities deftroyed by the people of Ja- 
jiouge and Majiouge. In fix days more 
they reached the caftles near the mountain 
Kokaiya or Caucafus. This mountain is 
inacceffibly fteep, perpetually covered with 
fnows and thick clouds, and encompafles the 
country of Jagiouge and Magiouge, which 
is full of cultivated fields and cities. At 
an opening of this mountain the fortrefs 
appears : and travelling forwards,, at the 
diftance of two ftages, they found another 
mountain, with a ditch cut through it one 
hundred and fifty cubits wide ; and within 
the aperture an iron gate fifty cubits high, 
fupported by vaft buttreffes, having an iron 
bulwark crowned with iron turrets, reach- 
ing to the fummit of the mountain itfelf, 
which is too high to be feen. The valves, 
lintels, threfhold, bolts, lock and key, 
are all reprefented of proportionable mag- 
nitude. The governor of the caftle above- 

mentioned, once in every week mounted on 
horfeback with ten others oh horfeback, 
comes to this gate, and ftriking it three 
times with a hammer weighing five pounds, 
and then liftening, hears a murmuring noife 
from within. This noife is fuppofed to 
proceed from the Jagiouge and Magiouge 
confined there. Salam was told that they 
often appeared on the battlements of the 
bulwark. He returned after pafhng twenty- 
eight months in this extraordinary expedi- 
tion. See Mod. Univ. Hift. vol. iv. B. i. 
§ 2. pag. 15. 16. 17. And Anc. vol. 
XX. pag. 23. Pliny, fpeakingof thePoRx^ 
Caucasi/e, mentions, " ingens naturae 
*' opus, montibus interruptis repente, ubi 
** fores obditae ferratis trabibus," &c. Nat. 
Hift. lib. vi. c. 2. Czar Peter the firft, in 
his expedition into Perfia, had the curiofity 
to furvey the ruins of this wall : and fomc 
leagues within the mountain he found a 
flcirt of it which feemed entire, and was 
.about fifteen feet high. In fome other 
parts it is ftill fix or feven feet in heigh th. 
It feems at firft iight to be built of ftone : 
>but it confifts of petrified earth, fand, and 
fhells, which compofe a fubftance of great 
folidity. It has been chiefly deftroyed by 
the neighbouring inhabitants, for the fake 
of its materials : and moft of the adjacent 
towns and villages are built out of its 
ruins. Bentink's Notes on Abulgazi, p, 
722. Eng. edit. See Chardin's Travels, 
p. 176. And Struys's Voyage, B. iii. c 
20. p. 226. Olearius's Travels of the 
Holftein Ambaftiad. B. vii. p. 403. Geo- 
graph. Nubienf. vi. c. 9. And Aft. Pe- 
tropolit. vol. i. p. 405. By the way, 
this work probably preceded the time of 
Alexander : it does not appear, from the 
courfe of his vidlories, that he ever came 
near the Cafpian gates. The firft and fa- 
bulous hiftory of the eaftern nations, will 
perhaps be found to begin with the exploits 
of this Grecian hero. 



mance, which oppofed the landing of Brutus in Britain, was 
Goemagat. He was twelve cubits high, and would unroot 
an oak as eafily as an hazel wand : but after a mofl obfli- 
nate encounter with Corineus, he was tumbled into the fea 
from the fummit of a fteep cliff on the rocky fhores of Corn- 
wall, and dafhed in pieces againft the huge crags of the de- 
clivity. The place where he fell, adds our hiflorian, taking 
its name from the giant's fall, is called Lam-Goemagot, or 
Goemagot's Leap, to this day ^ A no lefs monflrous giant, 
whom king Arthur flew on Saint Michael's Mount in Corn- 
wall, is faid by this fabler to have come from Spain. Here 
the origin of thefe flories is evidently betrayed^. The Ara- 
bians, or Saracens, as I have hinted above, had conquered 
Spain, and were fettled there. Arthur having killed this 
redoubted giant, declares, that he had combated with none 
of equal flrength and prowefs, fmce he overcame the mighty 
giant Ritho, on the mountain Arabius, who had made himfelf 
a robe of the beards of the kings whom he had killed. This 
tale is in Spenfer's Faerie Queene. A magician brought 
from Spain is called to the afliflance of Edwin, a prince of 
Northumberland '', educated under Solomon king of the 
Armoricans '. In the prophecy of Merlin, delivered to Vorti-^ 
gern after the battle of the dragons, forged perhaps- by the 
tranflator Geoffrey, yet apparently in the fpirit and manner 
of the refl, we have the Arabians named, and their fitua-- 
tions in Spain and Africa. " From Conau fhall come forth 
**■ a wild boar, whofe tufks fhall deflroy the oaks- of the fo- 
" refls of France. The Arabians and Africans fliall 
" dread him ; and he fhall continue his rapid courfe into^ 
" the mofl diflant parts of Spain \" This is king Arthur,. 
In the fame prophecy, mention is made of the " Woods of 

' Lib. i. c. 16. were ftrongly allied to the Welfh and' 

8 L. X. c. 3^ Cornifh. 
^ The Cumbrian and Northumbrian Bri- ' Lib. xii. c. 1,4, 5, 6. 

tons, as powerful opponents of the Saxons, '' Lib. vii. c. 3. 

*' Africa." 

P I S S E R T A T I O N X 

'' Africa;* In another place Gormund king of the Africans 
occurs '. In a battle which Arthur fights againft the Ro- 
mans, fome of the principal leaders in the Roman army are 
Alifantinam king of Spain, Pandrafus king of Egypt, Boccus 
king of the Medes, Evander king of Syria, Micipfa king of 
Babylon, and a duke of Phrygia". It is obvious to fuppofe 
how thefe countries became fo familiar to the bard of our 
chronicle. The old fi6lions about Stonehenge were derived 
from the fame inexhauftible fource of extravagant imagina- 
tion. We are told in this romance, that the giants con- 
veyed the ftones which compofe this miraculous monument 
from the fartheft coafts of Africa, Every one of thefc 
flones is fuppofed to be myftical, and to contain a medicinal 
virtue : an idea drawn from the medical fkill of the Arabians", 
and more particularly from the Arabian do6lriQe of attri- 
buting healing qualities, and other occult properties, to 
ftones °. Merlin's transformation of Uther into Gorlois, and 
of Ulfin into Bricel, by the power of fome medical pre- 
paration, is a fpecies of Arabian magic, which profefTed to 
work the moft wonderful deceptions of this kind» and is men- 
tioned at large hereafter, in tracing the inventions of Chaucer's 
poetry. The attribution of prophetical language to birds 
was common among the orientals : and an eagle is fuppofed 
to fpeak at building the walls of the city of Paladur, now 
Shaftefbury ^ The Arabians cultivated the ftudy of philo- 

' Lib. xil. 2. XI- 8. I a. 

"" Lib. X. c. 5. S. 10. 

" Seeinfr. Sect. i. p. 10. And Sect. 
xiii. p. 378. infr. 

° This chronicle was evidently compiled 
to do honour to the Britons and their 
affairs, and efpecially in oppofition to the 
Saxons. Now the importance with which 
thefe romancers feem to fpeak of Stone- 
henge, and the many beautiful fidlions with 
which they have been fo Itudious to em- 
bellifh its origin, and to aggrandife its 
"hiftory, appear to me ftrongly to favour the 

hypothefis, that Stonehenge is a Britifh 
monument ; and indeed to prove, that it was 
really erefled in memory of the three hun- 
dred British nobles maflacred by the Saxon 
Hengill. See Sect. ii. infr. p. 52. No 
D R u I D I c A L monument, of which fo many 
remains were common, engaged their at- 
tention or interefted them fo much, as this 
NATIONAL memorial appears to have 

p Lib, ii. c. 9. See Sect. inf. xv. p. 



fophy, particularly aflronomy, with amazing ardour". Hence 
arofe the tradition, reported by our hiftorian, that in king 
Arthur's reign, there fubfifted at Caer-leon in Glamorgan- 
fhire a college of two hundred philofophers, who ftudied 
aflronomy and other fciences j and who were particularly 
employed in watching the courfes of the ftars, and predicting 
events to the king from their obfervations ^. Edwin's Spanifh 
magician above-mentioned, by his knowledge of the flight 
of birds, and the courfes of the ftars, is faid to foretell 
future difafters. In the fame ftrain Merlin, prognofticates 
Uther's fuccefs in battle by the appearance of a comet \ 
The fame enchanter's nioonderful Jkill in mechanical powers^ by 
which he removes the giant's Dance, or Stonehenge, from 
Ireland into England, and the notion that this ftupendous 
ftru6ture was raifed by a profound philosophical know- 
ledge OF THE MECHANICAL ARTS, are founded on the Arabic 
literature '. To which we may add king Bladud's magical 
operations '. Dragons are a fure mark of ©rientalifm. One 
of thefe in our romance is a '' terrible dragon flying from 
*^ the weft, breathing fire, and illuminating all the country 
" with the brightnefs of his eyes *." In another place we 
have a giant mounted on a winged dragon : the dragon 
ere6ls his fcaly tail, and wafts his rider to the clouds with 
great rapidity ", 

Arthur and Charlemagne are the firft and original heroes of 
romance. And as Geoff"rey's hiftory is the grand repofitory of 
the a6ts of Arthur, fo a fabulous hiftory afcribed to Turpin is 
the ground work of all the chimerical legends which have 
been related concerning the conquefts of Charlemagne and 
his twelve peers. Its fubje6l is the expulfion of the Sara- 

•SeeDiss.ii. And5ECT.xv. inf. p.402. * L. il. 10, 

^ L, viii. c. 15. « L. X. c. 2. 

P Lib. ix. c. 12. ■" L, vii. c.4. 

' L. viii. c. 10, See infr. Sect, xv, 

Vol. I. c cens 



cens from Spain : and it is filled with fi£lions evidently 
eogenial with thofe which charafterife Geoffrey's hiftory ^, 

Some fuppofe, as I have hinted above, this romance to 
have been written by Turpin, a monk of the eighth century ; 
who, for his knowledge of the Latin language, his fanftity, 
and gallant exploits againft the Spanifh Saracens, was pre- 
ferred to the archbiihoprick of Rheims by Charlemagne. 
Others believe it to have been forged under archbilhop 
Turpin's name about that time. Others very foon after- 
wards, in the reign of Charles the Bald"* That is, about 
the year 870 ^. 

Voltaire, a writer of much deeper refearch than is ima- 
gined, and the firft who has difplayed the literature and^ 
cuftoms of the dark ages with any degree of penetration 
and comprehenfion, fpeaking of the fi6litious tales concern- 
ing Charlemagne, has remarked, " Ces fables qu'un moine 
" ecrivit au onzieme fiecle, fous le nom de I'archeveque 
** Turpin *." And it might eafily be fhewn that juft before. 
the commencement of the thirteenth century, romantic 
ftories about Charlemagne were more fafhionable than ever 
among the French minftrels. That is, on the recent pub- 
lication of this fabulous hiftory of Charlemagne. Hiftorical 
evidence concurs with numerous internal arguments to prove, 
that it muft have been compiled after the crufades. In the 
twentieth chapter, a pretended pilgrimage of Charlemagne 
to the holy fepulchi'e at Jerufalem is recorded : a forgery 

■^ I win mention' only one among many 
Others. The chriftians under Charlemagne 
are faid to have foand in Spain a golden 
idol, or image of Mahomet, as high as a 
bird can fly. It was framed by Mahomet 
himfelf of the pureft metal, who by his 
knowledge in necromancy had fealed up 
within it a legion of diabolical' fpirits. 
It held in its hand a prodigious club ;: and 
the Saracens had a prophetic tradition, that 
this club fhould fall from the hand of the 

image in that year when a certain king; 
Ihould be born in France, &c. J. Turpini 
Hift. de Vit. Carol.. Magn. et Rolandi. 
cap. iv. f. 2. a. 

" See Hift. Acad, des Infcript. &c. vii.. 
293. edit. 4to. 

y See Catel, Mem. de I'Hift. du Lan- 
guedoc. pag. 545. 

^ " Hitt. Gen. ch. viii. Oeuvr. tom. i... 
p. 84. edit. Genev. 1756. 



feemingly contrived with a defign to give an importance to 
thofe wild expeditions, and which would eafily be believed 
when thus authenticated by an archbifhop *. 

There is another flrong internal proof that this romance 
was written long after the time of Charlemagne. Our hif- 
torian is fpeaking of the numerous chiefs and kings who 
came with their armies to aflift his hero : among the reft he 
mentions earl Oell, and adds, " Of this man there is a fong 
*' commonly fung among the minftrels even to this day \" 
Nor will I believe, that the European art of war, in the 
eighth century, could bring into the field fuch a prodigious 
parade of battering rams and wooden caftles, as thofe with 
which Charlemagne is faid to have befieged the city Agen- 
Hum "" : the crufades feem to have made thefe huge military 
machines common in the European armies. However we 
may fufpe6i: it appeared before, yet not long before, Geof- 
frey's romance ; who mentions Charlemagne's Twelve 
Peers, fo lavifhly celebrated in Turpin's book, as prefent 
at king Arthur's imaginary coronation at Caer-leon. Al- 
though the twelve peers of France occur in chronicles of 
the tenth century **,; and they might befides have been fug- 
gefted to Geoffrey's original author, from popular traditions 
and fongs of minftrels. We are fure it was extant before 
the year 1 1 22, for Calixtus the fecond in that year, by papal 

* See InFr. Sect. ui. p. 124. 

'' ** De hoc canitur in Cantilena ufque ed 
** hodiernum diem." cap. xi. f. 4. b. edit. 
Schard, Francof. 1566. fol. Chronograph. 

' Ibid. cap. ix. f. 3. b. The writer adds, 
*' Q^ttn((\^Q artifciis ad capiendumy Sec" 
See alfp cap. x. ibid. Compare Sect. iv. 
infr. p. 160, In one of Charlemagne's 
battles, the Saracens advance with horrible 
vifors bearded and horned, and with drums 
or cymbals. ■" Tenentefque fmguli tvm- 
*' PAN A, quse manibus for:iter percutie- 

"^^ bant." The unufual fpeftacle and found 
terrified the horfes of the chriftian army, 
and threw them into confufion. In a fe- 
cond engagement.Charlemagne commanded 
the eyes of the horfes to be covered, and 
their ears to be flopped. Turpin. cap. xviii. 
f. 7. b. The latter expedient is copied in. 
the Romance of Richard thb first, 
written about the eleventh century. See 
Sect. iv. infr. p. 165. See alfo what ie 
faid of the Saracen drums, ibid. p. 167. 

"^ Flodoard of Rheims firft mentions 
them, whofe chronicle comes down to 966. 

C 2 




authority, pronounced this hiftbry to be genuine ",. Mon- 
fieur Ailard affirms, that it was written, and in the eleventh 
century, at Vienna by a monk of Saint Andrew's ^ This 
monk was probably nothing more than fome Latin tran- 
flator : but a learned French antiquary is of opinion, that 
it was originally compofed in Latin ; and moreover, that the 
moft antient romances, even thofe of the Round Table,, 
were originally written in that language ^ Oienhart, and 
with the greateft probability, fuppofes it to be the work of 
a Spaniard. He quotes an authentic manufcript to prove, 
that it was brought out of Spain into France before: the 
clofe of the twelfth century *" j and that the miraculous 
exploits performed in Spain by Charlemagne and earl Roland, 
recorded in this romantic hiftory, were unknown among 
the French before that period : except only that fome few of 
them were obfcurely and imperfe6lly fketched in the metrical 
tales of thofe who fung heroic adventures *. Oienhart's fup- 
pofition that this hiftory was compiled in Spain, the centre 
of oriental fabling in Europe, at once accounts for the na- 
ture and extravagance of its fiftions, and immediately pointa 
to their Arabian origin ". As to the French manufcript of 

* Magn. Chron. Belgic. pag. 150. fub 
ann. Compare J. Long. Bibl, Hift. Gall, 
num. 6671. And Lamoec. ii. p. 333. 

^ Bibl. de Dauphine. p. 224. 

2 See infr. Sect. viii. p. 464. 

" See infr. Sect. iii. p. 135. 

^ Arnoldi Oicnharti Notit. utriufque 
Vafconiae, edit. Parif. 1638. 410. pag. 
397. lib. iii. c. 3. Such was Roland's 
fong, fung at the battle of Haftings. But 
fee this romance, cap. xx. f. 8. b. Where 
Turpin feems to refer to fome other fa- 
bulous material's or hiftory concerning 
Charlemagne. Particularly about Galafar 
and Braiamant, which make fuch a figure 
Ifl Boyardo and Ariofto. 
" ^ Innumerable romantic ftories, of Ara- 
bian growth, are to this day current among 
the common people of Spain, which they 
call CujEKTOS DE ViEjAS. I Will re- 

late one from that lively pifture of the 
Spaniards, Relation du Voyage d'Eft 
PAGNE, by Madamoifelle Danois. With- 
in the antient caftle of Toledo, they fay^ 
there was a vafl cavern whofe entrance was 
ftrongly barricadoed. It was univerfally 
believed, that if any perfon entered this 
cavern, the moft fatal difafters would hap- 
pen to the Spaniards. Thus it remained 
clofely Ihut and unentered for many agcsi 
At length king Roderigo, having lefs cre- 
dulity but more courage and curiofity than 
his anceftors, commanded this formidable 
recefs to be opened-. At entering, he 
began to fufpeft^ the traditions of the peo- 
ple to be true : a terrible tcmpeft arofe, and 
all the elements feemed united to embai- 
rafs him. Neverthelefs, he ventured for- 
wards into the cave, where he difcerned by. 
the light of his torches certain figures or. fla«- 



this hiftory, it is a tranflation from Turpin's Latin, made 
by Michel de Harnes- in the year 1207 '. And, by the way^ 
from the tranflator's declaration, that there was a great im- 
propriety in tranflating Latin profe into verfe, we may con- 
clude,, that at the commencement of the thirteenth century 
the French generally made their tranflations into verfe. 

In thefe two fabulous chronicles the foundations of romance 
feem to be laid. The principal chara6lers, the leading fub- 
j-ecls, and the fundamental fi6lions, which have fupplied 
fuch ample matter to this fingular fpecies of compofition, 
are here firil difplayed. And although the long continuance 
of the crufades imported innumerable inventions of a fimilar 
complexion, and fubftituted the atchievements of new cham- 
pions and the wonders of other countries, yet the tales of 
Arthur and of Charlemagne, diverfified indeed, or enlarged 
with additional embeilifhments, ftill continued to prevail,, 
and to be the favourite topics : and this, partly from their 
early popularity, partly from the quantity and the beauty, 
of the fi6lions with which they were at firft fupported, and 
efpecially becaufe the defign of the crufades had made thofe 
fubje6ls fo fafbionable in which chriftians fought with infi- 
dels. In a word, thefe volumes, are the firil. fpecimens. 

ties of men, whofe habiliments and arms 
were ftrange and' uncouth. One of them 
had a fword of Ihinlng- brafs, on which it 
was written in Arabic charaders, that the 
time approached when the Spanifh nation 
fhould be deftroyed, and that it would not 
be long before the warriors, whofe images 
were placed there, fhould arrive in Spain. 
The writer adds, '* Je n'ai jamais ete en 
** aucun endroit, ou Ton faffe plus de 
** CAS des coNTES FABULEUx qu'en 
*' Efpagne." Edit, a la Haye, 1691. 
torn. iii. p. 158. 159. i2mo. See infr. 
SiCT. iii. p. 112., And the Life of 
Cervantes, by Don Gregorfo Mayans. 

' See Du Chefne, torn. v. p. 60. And 

Mem. Lit. xvii. 737. feq. It Is in the 
royal library at Paris, Num. 8190. Pro- 
bably the French Turpin^ in the British. 
Mufeum is the fame. Cod. MSS. Harl. 
273. 23. f. 86. See infr. Sect. iii. p. 
135. See inftances of the Englifh tran- 
flating profe Latin books into Englifh, and 
fometimes French, verfe. Sect. ii. infr; 

In the king's library at Paris, there is a 
tranflation of Dares Phrygius into French 
rhymes by Godfrey of Waterford an Irifh. 
Jacobin, a writer not mentioned by Tanner, 
in the thirteenth century. Mem. Litt. tomi 
xvii. p. 736. Compare Sect, iii.» infr^ 
p. 125. In the Notes. 


D I S S E R t A T I O N t 

extant in this mode of writing. No European hiftory 
before thefe has mentioned giants, enchanters, dragons, and 
the like monftrous and arbitrary fiflions. And the reafon is 
obvious : they were written at a time when a new and 
unnatural mode of thinking took place in Europe, intro- 
duced by our communication with the eaft. 

Hitherto I have confidered the Saracens either at their 
immigration into Spain about the ninth century, or at the 
time of the crufades, as the firft authors of romantic 
fabling among the Europeans. But a late ingenious critic 
has advanced an hypothecs, which afligns a new fource, 
and a much earlier date, to thefe fi6lions. I will cite his 
opinion of this matter in his own words. " Our old 
' romances of chivalry may be derived in a lineal des- 

* CENT from the antient hiftorical fongs of the Gothic 
' bards and fcalds. — Many of thofe fongs are ftill preferved 
' in the north, which exhibit all the feeds of chivalry 

* before it became a foiemn inftitution. — Even the com- 

* mon arbitrary fi61:ions of romance were moft of thera 

* familiar to the antient fcalds of the north, long before 

* the time of the crufades. They believed the exiftence of 

* giants and dwarfs, they had fome notion of fairies, they 

* were flrongly pofi'efTed with the belief of fpells and in- 

* chantment, and were fond of inventing combats with 
' dragons and monfters "." Monfieur Mallet, a very able 

and elegant inquirer into the genius and antiquities of the 
northern nations, mantains the fame do6lrine. He feems to 
think, that many of the opinions and pra6lices of the Goths^ 
however obfolete, ftill obfcurely fubfift. He adds, " May 
" we not rank among thefe, for example, that love and 
*' admiration for the profeflion of arms which prevailed 
*^ among our anceftors even to fanaticifm, mad as it were 
^* through fyftem, and bravt from a point of honour ? — 

*» Percy, on Awtxezjt Metr. Rom. i. p. 3. 4. edit. 1767. 



•' Can we not explain from the Gothic religion, how judl- 
** ciary combats, and proofs by the ordeal, to the aftonifh- 
" ment of poflerity, were admitted by the legiflature of all 
«« Europe " : and how, even to the prefent age, the people 
*« are ftill infatuated with a belief of the power of magi- 
<« cians, witches, fpirits, and genii, concealed under the earth 
«* or in the waters ? — Do we not difcover in thefe religious 
«* opinions, that fource of the marvellous with which our 
" anceftors filled their romances ; in which we fee dwarfs 
*' and giants, fairies and demons," &c °. And in another 
place. " The fortrefies of the Goths were only rude caftles 
« iituated on the fummits of rocks, and rendered inacceffible 
«^ by thick misfhapen walls. As thefe walls ran winding 
^« round the caflles, they often called them by a name which 
** fignified Serpents or Dragons ; and in thefe they ufually 
" fecured the women and young virgins of diflin6lion, who 
" were feldom fafe at a time when fo many enterprifnig 
" heroes were rambling up and down in fearch of adven- 
" tures. It was this cuftom which gave occafion to antient 
" romancers, who knew not how to defcribe any thing 
" fimply, to invent fo many fables concerning princefTes of 
** great beauty guarded by dragons, and afterwards delivered 
" by invincible champions ^. 

" For the judiciary combats, as alfo for Worm. p. 63. In favour of this barbaroiK 

common athletic exercifes, they formed an inftitution it ought to be remembered, that 

amphitheatrical circus of rude ftones. "Qus- the practice of th!23 marking out the place 

•* dam [faxa] ciRCOs claudebant, in qui- of battle muft have prevented much blood- 

*' bus gigantes et pugiles duello ftrenue fhed, and faved many innocent lives : for 

" decertabant." Worm. p. 62. And again, if either combatant was by any accident 

** Nee mora, CIRC UATUR campus, milite forced ont of the circus, he was to lofe his 

" CIRCUS ftipatur, concurrunt pugiles." caufe, or to pay three marks of pure filver 

p. 65. It is remarkable, that circs of the as a redemption for his life. Worm. p. 

fame fort are ftill to be feen in Cornwall,- 68, 69. In the year 987, the ordeal was 

& famous at this day for the athletic art : fubftituted in Denmark inftead of the duel ; 

in which alfo they fometimes exhibited a mode of decifion, at leaft in a political 

their fcriptural interludes. See infr. Sect. fenfe, lefs abfurd, as it promoted military 

vi. p. 237, Frotho the Great, king of fltill. 

Denmark, in the Jirft century, is faid to ° Mallet, Introduftion a 1' Hifloirfi ds 

have been the firft who commanded all Dannemarc, Sec. torn. ii. p. 9. 

ccniroverfies to be decided by the fword. * lb. ch» Lx. p^zA^. torn. ii. 

I do:- 

Dissertation i. 

I do not mean entirely to reje6i this hypothecs : but I 
v/ill endeavour to fliew how far I think it is true, and in 
what manner or degree it may be reconciled with the fyftem 
delivered above. 

A few years before the birth of Chrift, foon after Mithri- 
dates had been overthrown by Pompey, a nation of Afiatic 
Goths, who pofleffed that region of Aiia which is now called 
Georgia, and is connedled on the fouth with Perfia, alarmed 
at the progreflive encroachments of the Roman armies, re- 
tired in vaft multitudes under the condudl of their leader 
Odin, or Woden, into the northern parts of Europe, not 
fubje6l to the Roman government, and fettled in Denmark, 
Norway, Sweden, and other diftri6ls of the Scandinavian terri- 
tory \ As they brought with them many ufeful arts, parti- 
cularly the knowledge of letters, which Odin is faid to have 
invented ', they were hofpitably received by the natives. 

'i " Unicam gentium Afiatlcarum Im- 
*• migrationem,'m orbem Arftoum faftam, 
" noftrse antiquitates commemorant. Sed 
*' -earn tamen non primam. Verum circa 
** anrrum tandem vicefimum quartum ante 
*' natum Chriftum, Romanis exercitibus 
*' aufpiciis Pompeii Magni in Afias parte, 
** Phrygia Minore, graflantibus. Ilia enim 
*' epocha ad hanc rem chronologi noftri 
*' utuntur. In cujus (Gylvi Sueci^ 
" regis) tempora incidit Odinus, Afiaticae 
*' immigrationis, fadlas anno 24 ante na- 
*' tum Chriftum, antefignanus." Grymo- 
gsea, Arngrim. Jon. lib. i. cap. 4. p. 30. 
31. edit. Hamburg. 1609. See alio Bar- 
tholin. Antiquitat. Dan. Lib. ii. cap. 8. 
p. 407. iii. c. 2. p. 652. edit. 1689. 
Lazius, de Gent. Migrat. L. x. fol. 573. 
30. edit. fol. 1600. Compare Ol. Rud- 
beck. cap. v. feft. 2. p. 95. xiv. feft. 2. 
p. 67. There is a memoir on this fubjedl 
lately publiflied in the Peterfburgh Tranf- 
aftions, but I chufe to refer to original au- 
thorities. See tom v. p. 297. edit. 1738. 

f " Odino etiam et aliis, qui ex Afia hue 
** devenere, tribuunt multi antiquitatum 

*' Iflandicarum perifi ; unde et Odinus 
*' RuNHOFDi feu Runarum {i. e. Litera- 
" rum) auftor vocatur." Ol. Worm. Li- 
ter. Runic, cap. 20. edit. Hafn. 1651. 
Some writers refer the origin of the Gre- 
cian language, fcicnces, and religion to 
the Scythians, who were conneded to- 
wards the foutli with Odin's Goths. lean- 
not bring a greater authority than that of 
Salmafms, " Satis certum ex his coUigi 
*' poteft linguam, ut gentem, Helleni- 
*' CAM, a feptentrione et Scythia origi- 
*< nem traxifTe, non a meridie. Inde li- 
" TER^ "Gr^corum, inde MuSi^ Pi- 
•*' ERiDEs, inde facrorum initia." Sal- 
maf. de Hellenift. p. 400. As a further 
proof I fhall obferve, that the antient poet 
Thamyris was fo much efteemed by the Scy- 
thians, on account of his poetry, xk9apw^a, 
that they chofe him their king. Conon. 
Narrat. Poet. cap. vii. edit. Gal. But 
Thamyris was a Thracian : and a late in- 
genious antiquarian endeavours to prove, 
that the Goths were defcended from the 
Thracians, and that the Greeks and Thra- 
cians were only different clans of the fame 
people.Clarke's Connexion, & 65. 



and by degrees acquired a fafe and peaceable eftablifhment 
in the new country, which feems to have adopted their lan- 
guage, laws, and religion. Odin is faid to have been ftiled 
a god by the Scandinavians ; an appellation which the fupe- 
riour addrefs and fpecious abilities of this Afiatic chi,ef eafily 
extorted from a more favage and uncivilifed people. 

This migration is confirmed by the concurrent teftimo- 
nies of various hiftorians : but there is no better evidence of 
it, than that confpicuous fimilarity fublifting at this day 
between feveral cuftoms of the Georgians, as defcribed by 
Chardin, and thofe of certain cantons of Norway and Swe- 
den, which have preferved their antient manners in the 
pureft degree *. Not that other ftriking implicit and in- 
ternal proofs, which often carry more convi6lion than 
dire6l hiftorical aflertions, are wanting to point out this 
migration. The antient inhabitants of Denmark and Nor- 
way infcribed the exploits of their kings and heroes on 
rocks, in chara6lers called Runic j and of this pra6tice many- 
marks are faid ftill to remain in thofe countries '. This art 
or cuflom of writing on rocks is Afiatic ". Modern travel- 
lers report, that there are Runic infcriptions now exifting 
in the deferts of Tartary ". The written mountains of 
the Jews are an inflance that this fafliion was oriental. 
Antiently, when one of thefe northern chiefs fell honourably 
in battle, his weapons, his war-horfe, and his wife, were 
confumed with himfelf on the fame funeral pile ^. I need 

* See Pontoppidan. Nat. Hift. Norway, 
torn. ii. c. lo. §. 1.2.3. 

' See Saxo Grammat. Praef. ad Hift. 
Dan. And Hiil. lib. vii. See alfo Ol. 
Worm. Monum. Dan. lib. iii. 

" Paulus Jovius, a writer indeed not of 
the beft credit, fays, that Annibal engraved 
charafters on the Alpine rocks, as a tefti- 
mony of his paffage over them, and that 
they were remaining there two centuries 
ago. Hift. lib. XV. p. 163. 

Vol I. 

^ See Voyage par Strahlembcrg, &c. 
A Defcription of the norihern and eafttrn 
Parts of Europe and Jfa. Schroder fays, 
from Olaus Rudbeckius, that runes, or 
letters, were invented by Magog the Scy- 
thian, and communicated to Tuifco the 
celebrated German chieftain, in the year 
of the world 1799. Praef. ad Lexicon La- 

y See Keyfler, p. 147, Two funeral 
ceremonies, one of burning, the other 

d of 



not remind my readers how religioufly this horrible cere- 
mony of facrificing the wife to the dead hulband is at prefent 
obferved in the eafl. There is a very remarkable corre- 
fpondence, in numberlefs important and fundamental points, 
between the Druidical and the Perfian fuperllitions : and 
notwithftanding the evidence of Cefar, who fpeaks only 
from popular report, and without precifion, on a fubje6l 
which he cared little about, it is the opinion of the learned. 
Banier, that the Druids were formed on the model of the 
Magi ^. In this hypothecs he is fcconded by a modern anti-= 
quary; who further fuppofes, that Odin's followers im- 
ported this eftablifhment into Scandinavia, from the con- 
fines of Perfia \ The Scandinavians attributed divine virtue 
to mifletoe; it is mentioned in their Edda, or fyflem of 
religious do6lrines, where it is faid to grow on the well 
fide of Val-hall, or Odin's elyfuim ^. That Druidical rites 
exilled among the Scandinavians we are informed from many 
antient Erfe poems, which fay that the Britifli Druids, in 
the extremity of their affairs, follicited and obtained aid 
from Scandinavia \ The Gothic hell exa6lly refembles that 
which we find in the religious fyflems of the Perfians, the 
moft abounding in fuperftition of all the eaflern nations. 
One of the circumftances is, and an oriental idea, that it is 
full of fcorpions and ferpents \ The doftrines of Zeno, 
who borrowed mofl of his opinions from the Perfian philo- 
fophers, are not uncommon in the Edda. Lok^ the evil 

vf BURYING their dead, at different times 
prevailed in the north ; and have diftin- 
guiftied two eras in the old northern hiftory . 
I'he firft was called the Age of Fire, 
the fecond the Age of Hills. 

■* Mytholog. Expliq. ii. p. 628. 4to. 

^^ M. Mallet. Hill. Dannem. i. p. 56. 
See alfo Keyfler, p. 152. 

*» Edd. IsL. fab. xxviii. Compare Key- 
:fler, Antiquit. Sel. Sept. p. 304. feq. The 
43crmans, a Teutonic tribe, call it to this 

day ** the Branch of Speftres." But fee 
Dr. Percy's ingenious note on this pafTage 
in the Edda. Northern Antiqui- 
ties, vol. ii. p. 143. 

= Offian's Works. Cathlin, ii, p. 
216. Not. edit. 1765. vol. ii. They add, 
that among the auxiliaries came many ma- 

^ Sec Hyde, Relig. Vet. Perf. p. 399. 
404. But compare what is faid of the 
Edda, towards the clofe of thisDifcourfe. 



deity of the Goths, is probably the Arimanius of the Per- 
fians. In feme of the moft antient Iflandic chronicles, 
the Turks are mentioned as belonging to the jurifdi(5lion of 
the Scandinavians. Mahomet, not fo great an inventor as 
is imagined, adopted into his religion many favourite no- 
tions and fuperftitions from the bordering nations which 
were the offspring of the Scythians, and efpecially from the 
Turks. Accordingly, we find the Alcoran agreeing with the 
Runic theology in various inftances. I will mention only 
one. It is one of the beatitudes of the Mahometan paradife, 
that blooming virgins fhall adminifter the moft lufcious 
wines. Thus in Odin's Val-hall, or the Gothic elyfium, 
the departed heroes received cups of the ftrongefl mead and 
ale from the hands of the virgin-goddefTes called Valkyres % 
Alfred, in his Saxon account of the northern feas, taken 
from the mouth of Ohther, a Norwegian, who had been 
fent by that monarch to difcover a north-eaft paiTage into 
the Indies, conftantly calls thefe nations the Orientals^ 
And as thefe eaftern tribes brought with them into the north 
a certain degree of refinement, of luxury and fplendor, 
which appeared fmgular and prodigious among barbarians j 
one of their early hiflorians defcribes a perfon better drefled 
than ufual, by faying, " he was fo well cloathed, that you 
" might have taken him for one of the Afiatics ^" Wor- 
mius mentions a Runic incantation, in which an Afiatic 
inchantrefs is invoked \ Various other inftances might here 

* Odin only, drank wine in Valhall. Neiu the magicians of Egypt, they alfo did 

Edd. Myth, xxxiv. See Keyfler, p. 152. in like manner ivith their enchavtments, 

' See Preface to Alfred's Saxon Orofius, Exod. vii. 11. See alfo vii. 18, 19. ix. 

publiflied by Spelman. Vit. ^lfredi. 11, &c. When the people of Ifrael had 

Spelm, Append, vi. over-run the country of Balak, he invites 

5 Landnama-Saga. See Mallet. Hifl. Baalam a neighbouring prince to <ri<'?:A//?'£'w, 

Dannem. c. ii. or deftroy them by magic, which he feems 

*" Lit. Run. p. 209, edit. 1651. The to have profefTed. And the elders of Moab 

Goths came from the neighbourhood of departed ^with the retvards of \}l\iii hiioxs 

Colchis, the region of Witchcraft, and the in their hand. Num. xxii. 7. Purely there 

(Country of Medea, famous for her incanta- is »o enchantment againjl IfraeL xxiii. 

tions. The eaftern pagans fiom the very 23. And he ivent out, as at other times, to 

earlieft ages, have had their enchanters. feek for enchantments, xxiv. i. &c. 

d 2 Odin 



be added, fome of which will occafionally arife in the future 
courfe of our inquiries. 

It is notorious, that many traces of oriental ufages arc 
found amongft all the European nations during their pagan 
ftatej and this phenomenon is rationally refolved, on the 
fuppofition that all Europe was originally peopled from the 
eait. But as the refemblance which the pagan Scandina- 
vians bore to the eaftern nations in manners, monu- 
ments, opinions, and praclices, is fo very perceptible and 
apparent, an inference arifes, that their migration from 
the eaft muil have happened at a period by many ages 
more recent, and therefore moft probably about the time 
fpecified by their hiftorians. In the mean time we muft re- 
member, that a diftin6lion is to be made between this expe- 
dition of Odin's Goths, who formed a fettlement in Scandi- 
navia, and thofe innumerable armies of barbarous adventu- 
rers, who fome centuries afterwards, diftinguifhed by the 
fame name, at different periods overwhelmed Europe, and at 
length extinguifhed the Roman empire. 

When we conlider the rapid conquefls of the nations 
which may be comprehended under the common name of 
Scythians, and not only thofe conduced by Odin, but by 
Attila, Theodoric, and Genferic, we cannot afcribe fuch fuc- 
ceffes to brutal courage only. To fay that fome of thefe 
irrefiftible conquerors made war on a luxurious, effeminate, 
and enervated people, is a plaufible and eafy mode of ac- 
counting for their conquefts : but this reafon will not ope- 
rate with equal force in the hiftories of Genghizcan and 

oath, that he did not carry about him any 
herb, spell, or enchantment. Dug- 
dal. Orig. Juridic. p. 82. See Hickes's 
account of the filver Dano-Saxon fliield, 
dug up in the ifle of Ely, having a 
magical Runic infcription,fuppofed to ren- 
der thofe who bore it in battle invulnerable. 
Apud Hickef. Thefaur. DilTertat. EpiftoL 
p. 187. 


Odin himfelf was not only a warrior, but a 
magician, and his Afiatics were called In- 
cantationum auBores. Chron. Norweg, apud 
Bartholin. L. iii. c. 2. p. 657. Crymog. 
Arngrim. L. i. cap. yii. p. 511. Erom 
this fource, thofe who adopt the principles 
juft mentioned in this difcourfe, may be 
inclined to think, that the notion of fpells 
got into the ritual of chivalry. In all legal 
iiRgle combats, each champion attelled upon 


Tamerlane, who deftroyed mighty empires founded on arms 
and military difcipline, and who baffled the efforts of the 
ablefl leaders. Their fcience and genius in war, fuch as it 
then was, cannot therefore be doubted : that they were not 
deficient in the arts of peace, I have already hinted, and now 
proceed to produce more particular proofs. Innumerable 
and very fundamental -errors have crept into our reafonings 
and fyflems about favage life, refulting merely from thofe 
ftrong and undiflinguifhing notions of barbarifm, which our 
prejudices have haftily formed concerning the chara6ler of 
all rude nations \ 

Among other arts which Odin's Goths planted in Scandi- 
navia, their ikill in poetry, to which they were addifted in 
a peculiar manner, and which they cultivated with a won-= 
derful enthufiafm, feems to be moft worthy our regard, and 
efpecially in our prefent inquiry. 

As the principal heroes of their expedition into the north 
were honourably diflinguifhed from the Europeans, or ori- 
ginal Scandinavians, under the name of As^, or Afiatics, 
fo the verfes, or language, of this people, were denominated 
AsAMAL, or Asiatic fpeech ". Their poetry contained not 
only the praifes of their heroes, but their popular traditions 
and their religious rites ; and was filled with thofe fictions 
which the moft exaggerated pagan fuperftition would natu- 
rally implant in the wild imaginations of an Afiatic people* 
And from this principle alone, I mean of their Afiatic origin, 
fome critics would at once account for a certain capricious 
fpirit of extravagance, and thofe bold eccentric conceptions, 
which fo ftrongly diftinguifla the old northern poetry \ Nor 

^ See this argument purfued In tlte fol- 
lowing Dissertati6n. 

^ " Linguam Danicam antiquam, cujus 
*' in rythmis ufus futt, veteres appellarunt 
•* AsAMALjidefl; Afiaticam, vcIAsarum 
*' Sermonem; quod cum ex AfiaOdinus 
" fecum in Daniam, Norwegiam, Sueciam, 
** aliafque regioucs feptentrionales^ invex- 

** erit.*' Steph. Stephan. Praefet. ad Saxon. 
Grammat. HLft. 

' A moil ingenious critic obferves, that 
" what we have been long accuftomed to 
" call the ORIENTAL VEijj of poetry, 
** becauie fome of the earliest poetical 
** produftions have come to us from the 
** eaft, is probably no moie oriental 

" thao 



is this fantaftic imagery, the only mark of Afiaticifm which 
appears in the Runic odes. They have a certain fublime and 
figurative caft of di6tion, which is indeed one of their pre- 
dominant chara6leriftics ". I am very fenfible that all rude 
nations are naturally apt to cloath their fentiments in this 
ftyle. A propenfity to this mode of expreffion is neceffarily 
occafioned by the poverty of their language, which obliges 
them frequently to fubftitute fmiilitudes and circumlocu- 
tions : it arifes in great meafure from feelings undifguifed and 
unreftrained by cuftom or art, and from the genuine efforts 
of nature working more at large in uncultivated minds. In 
the infancy of fociety, the paffions and the imagination are 
alike uncontrouled. But another caufe feems to have con- 
curred in producing the effe6l here mentioned. When <)b- 
vious terms and phrafes evidently occurred, the Runic poets 
are fond of departing from the common and eftabliflied dic- 
tion. They appear to ufe circumlocution and comparifons 
not as a matter of neceflity, but of choice and fkill : nor 
are thefe metaphorical colourings fo much the refult of want 
of words, as of warmth of fancy ". 

*' than OCCIDENTAL." Blair's Crit. DlfT. 
on Oflian. vol. ii. p. 317. But all the la- 
te r oriental writers through all ages have 
been particularly diftinguiihed for this vein. 
Hence it is here charafteriftical of a country 
not of an age. I will allow, on this writer's 
very juft and penetrating principles, that an 
early northern ode fhall be as fublime as 
an eaftern one. Yet the fublimity of the 
latter Ihall have a diiferent charadter ; it 
will be more inflated and gigantic. 

™ Thus, a Rainbow is called, the bridge 
of the gods. Poetry, the mead of Odin. The 
earth, /^f n)cffel that floats on ages. A Ihip, 
the horfe of the ^va'ves. Ice, the 'vaft bridge. 
Herbs, the fleece of the earth. A Battle, 
a bath of bloody the hail of Odin, the floock 
of bucklers. A Tongue, the f'vjord of ivcrds. 
Night, the <veil of cares. Rocks, the bones 
cf the earth. Arrows, the hailfluus of hel- 
mets^ i^c. i^c. 

" In a firlft geographical fenfe, the ori- 
ginal country of thefe Afiatic Goths might 
not be fo fituated as phyfically to have 
produced thefe efFefts. Yet it is to be ob- 
ferved, that intercourfe and vicinity are in 
this cafe fometimes equivalent to climate. 
The Perfian traditions and fuperftitions 
were current even in the northern parts of 
Tartary. Georgia, however, may be fairly 
confidered as a part of Perfia. It is equal 
in fertility to any of the eaftern Turkifli 
provinces in Afia. It affords the richeft: 
wines, and other luxuries of life, in the 
greateft abundance. The moft beautiful 
virgins for the feraglio are fetched from 
this province. In the mean time, thus much 
at leaft may be faid of a v/arm climate, 
exclufive of its fuppofed immediate phyii- 
cal influence on the human mind and tem- 
perament. It exhibits all the prcdutStions 
of nature in their higheft ^erfedion and 

beauty : 


Their warmth of fancy, however, if fuppofed to have 
proceeded from the principles above fuggefted, in a few ge- 
nerations after this migration into Scandinavia, muft have 
loft much of its natural heat and genuine force. Yet ideas 
and fentiments, efpecially of this fort, once imbibed, are 
long remembered and retained, in favage life. Their reli- 
gion, among other caufes, might have contributed to keep 
this fpirit alive ; and to preferve their original ftock of 
images, and native mode of expreflion, unchanged and una- 
bated by climate or country. In the mean time we may 
fuppofe, that the new fituation of thefe people in Scan- 
dinavia, might have added a darker fhade and a more favage 
complexion to their former fiftions and fuperftitions ; and. 
that the formidable objefts of nature to which they became 
familiarifed in thofe northern folitudes, the piny precipices^-, 
the frozen mountains, and the gloomy forefts, a6led on their- 
imaginations, and gave a tin6lure of horror to their imagery- 

A Ikill in poetry feems in fome meafure to have been a 
national fcience among the Scandinavians, and to have been 
familiar to almoft every order and degree. Their kings and. 
warriors partook of this epidemic enthufiafm, and on fre- 
quent occafions are reprefented as breaking forth into fpon- 
taneous fongs and verfes °. But the exercife of the poeticaL 

-beauty : while the exceffiVe heat of the fun, 
and the fewer incitements to labour and in- 
duftry, difpofe the inhabitants to indolence, 
and to living much abroad in fcenes of na- 
ture. Thefe circumftances are favourable 
to the operations of fancy. 

° Harold Hardraade, king of NorwaVs 
coApofed fixteen fongs of his expedition 
into Africa. A&iorn Pruda, a Danilh 
champion, defcribed his paft life in nine 
ftrophes, while his enemy Bruce, a giant, 
v/as tearing out his bowels. " i. Tell my mo- 
ther Suanhita in Denmark, that Jbe •will 
not this fummer cimh;jhe.',}^air of her fon^ 
I had promifed her to ret urn, hut nonu my Jtde 
Jh all feel the edge of the f^ord. ii. It was 
far otberwife, iMhen %<je fate at home in 

mirth, cheariiig ourfel'va tvith the drink of 
ale ; and coming from Hordeland pajjed the 
gulf in our Jhips ; nvhen <zve qua fed mead, . 
and con-verfed of liberty., Noiv I alone, am 
fallen into the narronjo prifons of the giants, 
iii. It was far otherwife,&c." Every fbnza is 
introduced with the fame choral burden. 
Bartholin. Antiquit. Danic. L, i. cap. lo. 
p. 158. edit. 1689. The noble epicedium 
of Regner Lodbrog is more commonly 
known. The champion Orvarodd, after 
his expeditions into various countries, fung, . 
on his death-bed, the moil memorable 
events of his life in metre. Hallmund, be- 
ing mortally wounded, commanded his 
daughter to lillen to a poem which he was 
about to deliver J containing hiftories of his 

yiftoxies, , 


talent was properly confined to a flated profeflion : and with 
their poetry the Goths imported into Europe a fpecies of 
poets or fingers, whom they called Scalds or Polishers of 
Language. This order of men, as we (hall fee more 
diftinftly below, was held in the highefl honour and vene- 
ration : they received the moft liberal rewards for their 
verfes, attended the feftivals of heroic chiefs, accompanied 
them in battle, and celebrated their vi6lories p. 

Thefe Scandinavian bards appear to have been efteemed 
and entertained in other countries befides their own, and 
by that means to have probably communicated their fi6lions 
to various parts of Europe. I will give my reafons for this 

In the early ages of Europe, before many regular govern- 
ments took place, revolutions, emigrations, and invafions, 
were frequent and almoft univerfal. Nations were alter- 

vlftories, and to engrave it on tablets of 
wood. Bartholin, ibid. p. 162. Saxo 
Grammaticus gives us a regular ode, ut- 
tered by the Ton of a king of Norway, 
who by miftake had been buried alive, and 
was difcovered and awakened by a party 
of foldiers digging for treafure. Sax. 
Grammat. L. 5. p. 50. There are in- 
ftances recorded of their fpeaking in metre 
on the molt common occurrences. 

P The Sogdians were a people who lived 
eaftward of the Cafpian fea, not far from 
the country of Odm's Goths. Quintus 
Curtlus relates, that when fome of that 
people were condemned to death by Alex- 
ander on account of a revolt, they rejoiced 
greatly, and teftified their joy by sing- 
ing VERSES and dancing. When the 
king enquired the reafon of their joy, they 
anfwered, *' that being foon to be re- 


* great a conqueror, ihey could not help 

' celebrating fo honourable a death, 

'which was the wish of all brave men, 

' in their own accustomed songs." 

Lib. vii. c. 8. I am oblio-ed to doftor 

Percy for pointing out this pafTage. From 

the correfpondcnce of manners and princi- 

piles it holds forth between the Scandina- 
vians and the Sogdians, it contains a ilrik- 
ing proof of Odin's migration from the 
eaft to the north : firft, in the fpontaneous 
exercife of the poetical talent ; and fe- 
condly, in the opinion, that a glorious or 
warlike death, which admitted them to the 
company of their friends and parents in 
another world, was to be embraced with 
the moll eager alacrity, and the highefl; 
fenfations of pleafure. This is the doc- 
trine of the Edda. In the fame fpirit, 
RiDENS MORiAR is the triumphant clofe 
of Regner Lodbrog's dying ode. [See 
Keyfler, ubiinfr.p,i27.] Icannot help add- 
ing here another ftroke from this ode, which 
feems alfo to be founded on eaftern man- 
ners. He fpeaks with great rapture of 
drinking, ** ex concavis crateribus cranio- 
*' rum." The inhabitants of the ifland 
of Ceylon to this day caroufe at their 
feafts, from cups or bowls made of the 
fculls of their deceafed anceftors. Ives's 
Voyage to India, ch. 5^. p. 6z. Lond. 
1773. 4to. This praftice thefe ifianders 
undoubtedly received from the neighbour- 
ing continent. Compare Keyfler, Anti- 
quitat. Sel. Septentrional, p. 362. feq. 



nately deflroyed or formed j and the want of political fecurity 
expofed the inhabitants of every country to a ftate of eternal 
fluftuation. That Britain was originally peopled from Gaul, 
-a nation of the Celts, is allowed: but that many colonies 
from the northern parts of Europe were afterwards fuc- 
ceffively planted in Britain and the neighbouring iflands, is 
an hypothecs equally rational, and not altogether deftitute 
of hiftorical evidence. Nor was any nation more likely than 
the Scandinavian Goths, I mean in their early periods, to 
make defcents on Britain. They poiTeiTed the fpirit of 
adventure in an eminent degree. They were habituated to 
dangerous enterprifes. They were acquainted with diftant 
coafls, exercifed in navigation, and fond of making expe- 
ditions, in hopes of conqueft, and in fearch of new acqui- 
fitions. As to Scotland and Ireland, there is the higheft 
probability, that the Scutes, who conquered both thofe coun- 
tries, and poflelTed them under the names of Albin Scutes 
and Irin Scutes, were a people of Norway. The Caledo- 
nians are exprefsly called by many judicious antiquaries a 
Scandinavian colony. The names of places and perfons, 
over all that part of Scotland which the Pi6ls inhabited, 
are of Scandinavian extra6lion. A fmiple catalogue of them 
only, would immediately convince us, that they are not 
of Celtic, or Britifh, origin. Flaherty reports it as a re- 
ceived opinion, and a general doftrine, that the Pi6ts mi- 
grated into Britain and Ireland from Scandinavia \ I for- 
bear to accumulate a pedantic parade of authorities on this 
occafion : nor can it be expelled that I fhould enter into a 
formal and exaft examination of this obfcure and compli- 

1 It is conjeftured by Wormius, that Ire- brated archers. Hence Hercules in Theo- 

land 15 derived from the Runic Yr, a bow, critus, Idyll, xiii. 56. 
for the ufe of which the Irifli were once — Mo^JIh* Xu^uv Eyxawj^satlola. 

femous. Lit. Run. c. xvii. p. 101. The Compare Salmaf. de Hellen. p. 369. And 

Afiatics near the lake Maeotis, from which Flahert. Ogyg. Part. iii. cap. xviii. p 188. 

Odin led his colony in Europe, were cele- edit. 1685. Stillingflect's Orig. Brit. Prsf. 

p. xxxviii. 

Vol. I. e cated 


cated fubje6l in its full extent, which is here only intro- 
duced incidentally. I will only add, that Scotland and Ire- 
land, as being fituated more to the north, and probably lefs 
difficult of accefs than Britain, might have been objefts on 
which our northern adventurers were invited to try fome 
of their earlieil excurfions : and that the Orkney-iflands 
remained long under the jurifdi6lion of the Norwegian 

In thefe expeditions, the northern emigrants, as we fhalL 
prove more particularly below, were undoubtedly attended 
by their fcalds or poets. Yet even in times of peace, and 
without the fuppofition of conquefl or invafion, the Scan- 
dinavian fcalds might have been well known in the Britifh 
iflands. PofiefTed of a fpecious and pleafmg talent, they fre- 
quented the courts of the Britiih, Scottifh, and Irifh chief- 
tains. They were itinerants by their inftitution, and made 
voyages, out of curiofity, or in queft of rewards, to thofe 
iflands or coalts which lay within the circle of their mari- 
time knowledge. By thefe means, they eftabliflied an in- 
tereft, rendered their profeffion popular, propagated their 
art, and circulated their fi6lions, in other countries, and at 
a diftance from home. Torfaeus afTerts pofitively, that 
various Iflandic odes now remain, which v/ere fung by the 
Scandinavian bards before the kings of England and Ireland, 
and for which they received liberal gratuities \ They were 
more efpecially carefTed and rewarded at the courts of thofe 
princes, who were diftinguifhed for their warlike chara6ler, 
and their paflion for military glory. 

Olaus Wormius informs us, that great numbers of the 
northern fcalds conftantly refided in the courts of the kings 
of Sweden, Denmark, and England '. Hence the tradition 
in an.antient Iflandic Saga, or poetical hiflory, may be ex- 
plained 5 which fays, that Odin's language was originally 

' Torf. Hift. Oread, in Prajfat. ' Lit, Dan, p. 195. ed, 410. 



iifed, not only in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but even 
in England '. Indeed it may be naturally concluded from 
thefe fuggeftions, that the Scandinavian tongue became fami- 
liar in the Britifh iflands by the fongs of the fealds : unlefs 
it be rather prefumed, that a previous knowledge of that 
tongue in Britain was the means of facilitating the admiflion 
of thofe poets, and preparing the way for their reception. 

And here it will be m.uch to our prefent argument to 
obferve, that fome of the old Gothic and Scandinavian fu- 
perftitions are to this day retained in the Englifli language. 
Mara, from whence our Night-mare is derived, v/as in the 
Runic theology a fpirit or fpe6lre of the night, which feized 
men in their fleep, and fuddenly deprived them of fpeech 
and motion ". Nicka was the Gothic demon who inha- 
bited the element of water, and who ftrangled perfons that 
were drowning '^. Boh was one of the moft fierce and 
formidable of the Gothic generals ", and the fon of Odin : 
the mention of whofe name only was fufiicient to fpread an 
immediate panic among his enemies ^ 

* Bartholin. Hi. 2. p. 651. It was a of the Danifli hiftorians, that the Danes 
conftant old Britifh tradition, that king and Angles, whofe fuccefTors gave the name 
Arthur conquered Ireland, Gothland, Den- to this ifland, had the fame origin. 
mark, and Norway. See Galfrid. Monum. " See Keyfler, Antiquitat. Sel. Septen- 
ix. 1 1. Rob. of Glouc. ed. Hearne, p. 180. trional. p. 497. edit. 1720. 
i8z. What is faid in the text mufl have '^ See Keyfler, ut fupr. p. 261. And 
greatly facilitated the Saxon and Danifli in Addend, ibid. p. 588. 
conquefts in England. The works of the ^ See Keyfler, ibid. p. loj. p. 130. 
genuine Caedmon are written in the Ian- ^ See Temple's Effayj, part 4. pag. 346. 
guage of the antient Angles, who were See alfo inftances of conformity between 
nearly connected with the Jutes. Hence Englifli and Gothic fuperftitions in Bar- 
that language refembled the antient Danifli, tholinus, L. ii. cap. 2. p. 262. 7.66. It 
as appears from paflTages of Caedmon cited may be urged, that thefe fuperftitions 
by Wanley. Hence alfo it happened, that rnight be introduced by the Danes ; of 
the later Dano-Saxonic dialed, in which whom I fliall fpeak below. But this brings 
Junius's Poetical Paraphrase of us tojuft the fame point. The learned 
Genesis was written, is likev«ife fo very Hickes was of opinion, from a multitude 
iimilar to the language of the antient of inftances, that our trials by a jury of 
Angles, who fettled in the more northern Twelve, was an early Scandinavian in- 
parts of England. And in this dialed, ftitution, and that it was brought from 
which indeed prevailed in fome degree thence into England. Yet he fuppofes, at 
almoft over all England, many other poems a period later than is neceflary, the Nor- 
are compofed, mentioned likewife in Wan- man invafion. See Wootton's Confpeftus 
ley's Catalogue. It is the conftant dodrine of Hickes's Thefaur. pag. 46. Lond. 1708. 

e 2 And 



The fi6lions of Odin and of his Scandinavians," muft 
have taken ftill deeper root in the Britifh iflands, at leaft in 
England, from the Saxon and Danifh invafions. 

That the tales of the Scandinavian fcalds flouriihed among 
the Saxons, v/ho fucceeded to the Britons, and became pof- 
felTors of England in the fixth century, may be juftly pre- 
fumed ''. The Saxons were originally feated in the Cimbric 
Cherfonefe, or thofe territories which have been fmce called 
Jutland, Angelen, and Holftein ; and were fond of tracing 
the defcent of their princes from Odin \ They were there- 
fore a part of the Scandinavian tribes. They imported with 
them into England the old Runic language and letters. This 
appears from infcriptions on coins ^^ ftones % and other mo- 

And Hlckef. Thefaur. DlfTertat. Epiftol. 
vol. i. p. 38. feq. The number twelve 
was facred among the Septentrional tribes. 
Odin's Judges arc twelve, and have 
TWELVE feats in Gladheim. Edd. Isl. 
fab. vii. The God of the Edda has 
twelve names, ibid. fab. i. An Arifto- 
cracy of twelve is a well known antient 
eftablilhment in the north. In the Dia- 
logue between Hervor and Angantyr, the 
latter promifes to give Hervor twelve 
mens deaths. Hei-varer-Saga, apud Ol. 
Verel. cap. vii. p. 91. The Druidical 
circular monuments of feparate ftones ereft, 
are more frequently of the number twelve, 
than of any other number. See Borlafe, 
Antiquit. Cornw. B. iii. ch. vii. edit. 
1769. fol. And Toland, Hift. Druid. 
p. 89. 158. 160. Se alfo Martin's Hebrid. 
p. 9. In Zealand and Sweden, many 
antient circular monuments, confifting each 
of twelve rude ftones, ftill remain, which 
were the places of judicature. My late 
very learned, ingenious, and refpefted 
friend, dodor Borlafe, pointed out to me 
monuments of the fame fort in Cornwall. 
Compare Keyfltr, p. 93. And it will 
illuftrate remarks already made, and the 
principles infmuated in this Diftertation, 
to obfcrvc, that thefe monuments are 
found in Perfia near Tauris. Geoffrey of 

Monmouth affords inftances in his Britiffi 
Hiftory. The knights fcnt into. Wales, by 
Fitzhammon, in 1091, were twelve. 
Povvcl, p. 124. fub anno. See alfo an in- 
ftance in Du Carell, Anglo-Norman An- 
TiQ^ p. 9. It is probable that Charle- 
magne formed his twelve Peers on this 
principle. From whom Spenfer evidently 
took his Twelve Knights. 

^ *' Ex vetuftioribus poetis Cimbrorum, 
" nempe Scaldis et Theotifca: gentis verfi- 
" ficatoribus, plane multa, ut par eft cre- 
*' dere, fumpfere." Hickef. Thefaur. i". 
p. 101 . See p. 117. 

^ See Gibfon's Chron. Saxon, p. 12. 
feq. Hiftorians men tionWoD en's Beorth, 
i. e. Woden's hill, in Wiltfhire. See Mil- 
ton, Hift. Engl. An. 588. 

^ See Sir A. Fountaine's Pref. Saxon 
Money. Offa. Rex. Sc. Botred Mo- 
NETARius, Sec. Scc alfo Scrcnii Diftion. 
Anglo-Suecico-Latin. Prref pag. 21. 

'^ See Hickes's Thefaur. Baptisterium 
Bridekirkense. Par. iii. p. 4. Tab. 
ii. Saxum revellense a/nt^ Sccfos. 
Ibid. Tab. iv. pag. 5. — Crux Lapidea 
apuii Beaucojile. Wanley Catal. MSS. 
Anglo-Sax. pag. 248. ad calc. Hickef. 
Thefaur. Annulus aureus. Drake's. 
York, Append, p. 102. Tab. N. 26. And 
Gordon's Itin. Scptentr. p. 168. 




miments ; and from fome of their manufcripts ^, It is well 
known that Runic infcriptions have been difcovered in Cum- 
berland and Scotland : and that there is even extant a coin 
of king Offa, v/ith a Runic legend \ But the converfion 
of the Saxons to chriftianity, which happened before the 
feventh century, entirely baniihed the common ufe of thofe cha- 
rafters \ which were efteemed unhallowed and necromantic ; 
and with their antient fuperllitions, which yet prevailed for 
fome time in the popular belief, abolifhed in fome meafure 
their native and original vein of poetic fabling ^» They fud- 
denly became a mild and polillied people, addi6led to the arts 
of peace, and the exercife of devotion j and the poems they 
have left us are chiefly moral rhapfodies, fcriptural hiftories^ 
or religious invocations ''. Yet even in thefe pieces they 
have frequent allufions to the old fcaldic fables and heroes. 
Thus, in an Anglo-Saxon poem on Judith, Holofernes is 

^ See Hickes's Thefaur. Par. i. pag. 135^. 
136. 148. Par. iii. Tab. i. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 
It may be conjeftured, that thefe charafters 
were introduced by the Danes. It is certain 
that they never grew into common ufe. 
They were at leaft inconvenient, as con- 
fifting of capitals. We have no remains 
cf Saxon writing fo old as the fixth century. 
Nor are there any of the feventh, except a 
xery few charters. [Eibl. Bodl. NE. D. 11. 
19. feq.] See Hickes's Thefaur. Par. i. 
pag. 169. See alfo Charta Odilredi 
adMonasterium de Berking. Tab. i^ 
Cafley's Cat. Bibl. Reg. In the Britiih 

^ See Arch^ol. vol. ii. p. 131. A. D. 
1773. 4to. 

f But fee Hickes, ubi fupr. i. p. 140. 

s It has been fuggefted to rae by an in- 
genious friend, that Guy and fir Bevis, 
the firfl; of which lived in the reign of 
Athelftan, and the latter, as fome fup- 
pofe, in that of Edgar, both chriltian 
champions againll; the pagan Danes, were 
originally fubjefts of the genuine Saxon 
bards. But I rather think, they begun to 
be celebrated in or after the crufades ; the 

nature of which expeditions diflgted to the 
romance-writers, and brought into vogue, 
ftories of chriltians lighting with infidel 
heroes. The caufe was the fame, and the cir- 
cumftances partly parallel ;, and this being 
once the fafhion ,they confulted their own hif- 
tories for heroes, and combats were feigned 
with Danifh giants, as well as with the Sa- 
racen. See infr. Sect. iii. p. 142. 14^. 
145. There is the ilory of Bevis in Britiih, 
YsTORi Boun o Hamtun. Lhuyd's 
Arch. Brit. p. 264. 

^ Except an ode on Athelftan, tranilated 
below. SeeSECT.i.p. 2. Seealfothe defcrip- 
tion of the city of Durham. Hickes, p. 179, 
It has nothing of the wild ftrain of poetry. 
The foints and relics of Duiham church 
feem to have llruck the poet moil, in dcf- 
cribing that city. I cannot difcern tha 
fuppoled fublimity of thofe mylterious di- 
thyrambics, which clofe the Saxon Me no- 
log e, or poetic calendar, written about 
the tenth century, printed by Hickes, 
Gramm. Anglo-Sax. p. 207. They ftem 
to be prophcfies and proverbs ; or rather, 
fplendid fragments from different poemsj 
thrown together without connection. 



called Balder, or leader and prince of warriors. And in-^ 
poetical paraphrafe on Genefis, Abimelech has th€ fame ap- 
pellation \ This Balder was a famous chieftain of the 
Afiatic Goths, the fon of Odin, and fuppofed to inhabit a 
magnificent hall in the future place of rewards. The fame, 
Anglo-Saxon paraphraft, in his profopopea of Satan ad- 
drefiing his companions plunged in the infernal abyfs, adopts 
many images and exprellions ufed in the very fublime def- 
cription of the Eddie hell ^i Henry of Huntingdon com- 
plains of certain extraneous words and uncommon figures of 
fpeech, in a Saxon ode on a vi6lory of king Athelflan \ 
Thefe were all fcaldic exprellions or allulions. But I will 
give a literal Englifh tranllation of this poem, which can- 
not be well underilood without premiling its occafion. In the 
year 938, Anlaff, a pagan king of the Hybernians and the 
adjacent ifles, invited by Conllantine king of the Scots, en- 
tered the river Abi or Humber with a ftrong fleet. Our 
Saxon king Athelflan, and his brother Eadmund Clito, met 
them with a numerous army, near a place called Brunen- 
burgh ', and after a mofl obflinate and bloody reliflance, 
drove tkem back to their fhips. The battle lafled from day- 
break till the evening. On the fide of Anlaff were flain fix 
petty kings, and feven chiefs or generals. *' King Adelflan, 
*' the glory of leaders, the giver of gold chains to his nobles, 
*' and his brother Eadmund, both fhining with the bright- 
nefs of a long train of anceflors, flruck [the adverfary] 
in war ; at Brunen burgh, with the edge of the fword, 
they clove the wall of fhields. The high banners fell. 
The earls of the departed Edward fell -, for it was born 
" within them, even from the loins of their kindred, to 
" defend the treafures and the houfes of their country, and 

' See Hickcf. Thefaur. I. p. lo. Who ' Who has greatly mifreprefented the 

adds many more inftances. fenfe by a bad Latin tranflation. Hiil. Lib. 

^ Fab. xlix. See Hickes, ubi fupr. v. p. 203. 
p. 116. 

" their 





« their gifts, againft the hatred of flrangers. The nation 
«' of the Scots, and the fatal inhabitants of fhips, fell. The 
" hills refounded, and the armed men were covered with 
« fweat. From the time the fun, the king of liars, the 
«« torch of the eternal one, rofe chearful above the hills, till 
<« he returned to his habitation. There lay many of the 
«* northern men, pierced with lances j they lay wounded, 
<« with their lliields pierced through: and alfo the Scots, 
«' the hateful harveft of battle. The chofen bands of the 
" Weft-Saxons, going out to battle, prelTed on the fteps of 
" the detefted nations, and flew their flying rear with fliarp 
" and bloody fwords. The foft eft^minate men yielded up 
<' their fpears. The Mercians did not fear or fly the rough 
" game of the hand. There was no fafety to them, who- 
" fought the land with Anlaff in the bofom of the fliip, to 
" die in fight. Five youthful kings fell in the place of 
fight, flain with fwords ; and feven captains of Anlaff^, 
with the innumerable army of Scottifti mariners : there 
the lord of the Normans [Northern-men] was chafed 5 
and their army, now made fmall, was driven to the prow 
of the fliip. The fhip founded with the waves j and the 
king, marching into the yellow fea, efcaped alive. And 
fo it was, the wife northern king Conftantine, a veteran 
chief, returning by flight to his own army, bowed down 
in the camp, left his own fon worn out with wounds in 
the place of flaughter ; in vain did he lament his earls, in 
vain his loft friends. Nor lefs did Anlaff, the yellow- 
haired leader, the battle-ax of flaughter, a youth in war, 
but an old man in underftanding, boaft himfelf a con- 
queror in fight, when the darts flew againft Edward's 
" earls, and their banners met. Then thofe northern fol- 
diers, covered with fliame, the fad refufe of darts in 
the refounding whirlpool of Humber, departed in their 
fliips with rudders, to feek through the deep the Irifli 
city and their own land. While both the brothers, the 

" king 
















king and Clito, lamenting even their own vi6lory, toge- 
ther returned home ; leaving behind them the fiefli-de- 
vouring raven, the dark-blue toad greedy of flaughter, 
the black crow with horny bill, and the hoarfe toad, the 
eagle a companion of battles with the devouring kite, 
and that brindled favage beaft the wolf of the wood, to 
be glutted with the white food of the flain. Never was 
fo great a flaughter in this ifland, fnice the Angles and 
Saxons, the fierce beginners of war, coming hither from 
the eaft, and feeking Britain through the wide fea, over- 
came the Britons excelling in honour, and gained pof- 
" feffion of their land •"." 

This piece, and many other Saxon odes and fongs now 
remaining, are written in a metre much refembling that of 
the fcaldic dialogue at the tomb of Angantyr, which has 
been beautifully tranflated into Englifh, in the true fpirit of 
the original, and in a genuine ftrain of poetry, by Gray. 
The extemporaneous efrufions" of the glowing bard feem na- 
turally to have fallen into this meafure, and it was probably 
more eafily fuited to the voice or harp. Their verfification 
for the moft part feems to have been that of the Runic 

As literature, the certain attendant, as it is the parent, 
of true religion and civility, gained ground among the 
Saxons, poetry no longer remained a feparate fcience, and 
the profelTion of bard feems gradually to have decUned 
among them : I mean the bard under thofe appropriated 
charafteriftics, and that peculiar appointment, which he 
fuftained among the Scandinavian pagans. Yet their na- 
tional love of verfe and mufic ftill fo ftrongly predominated, 
that in the place of their old fcalders a new rank of poets 
arofe, called Gleemen or Harpers ". Thefe probably gave 

"^ The original was firft printed by Whe- " Gleeman anfvvers to the Latin Jo- 

loc in the Saxon Chronicle, p. 555. Cant. culator. Fabyan, fpeaking of Blage- 

1644.. See Hickef. Thef. Pra^fat. p xiv. bride, an antlcnt Rritifli king, famous for 

And ibid. Gramra. Anglo-Sax. p. i8i. kis fK.ilI in poetry and mufic, calls him " a 

" conynge 


life to the order of Englifh Minflrels, who flouriflied till 
the fixteenth centuiy. 

And here I flop to point out one of the principal reafons, 
why the Scandinavian bards have tranfmitted to modern times 
fo much more of their native poetry, than the reft of 
their fouthern neighbours. It is true, that the inhabitants 
of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, whether or no from 
their Afiatic origin, from their poverty which compelled 
them to feek their fortunes at foreign courts by the exercife 
of a popular art, from the fuccefs of their bards, the 
nature of their republican government, or their habits of 
unfettled life, were more given to verfe than any other 
Gothic, or even Celtic, tribe. But this is not all : they re- 
mained pagans, and retained their original manners, much 
longer than any of their Gothic kindred. They were not 
completely converted to chriftianity till the tenth century °. 
Hence, under the concurrence however of fome of the caufes 
juft mentioned, their fcaldic profeffion acquired greater degrees 
of ftrength and of maturity : and from an uninterrupted pof- 
feffion through many ages of the moft romantic religious 
fuperftitions, and the prefervation of thofe rough manners 
which are fo favourable to the poetical fpirit, was enabled to 
produce, not only more genuine, but more numerous, compo- 
fitions. True religion would have checked the impetuofity 
of their paffions, fupprelied their wild exertions of fancy, 
and baniflied that ftriking train of imagery, which their 

*' conynge muficyan, called of the Bri- Symphoniaca ;norpermitplaysorfport«, 

"*' tons god of Gleemen." Chron. ludos vel jocos, undoubtedly mimi- 

f. xxxii. ed. 1533. This, Fabyan tran- cal and gefticulatory entertainments, to be 

ilated .'rom Geoffrey of Monmouth's ac- exhibited in his prefence. Malmelb. Geft. 

count of the fame Britiih king, "utoEus Pontif lib. iii. p. 263. edit. vet. And, 

*' jocuLATORUM videretur." Hill Brit. Concil, Spelman. torn. i. p. 159. edit, 

lib.icap. 22. It appears from theinjunilions 1639. fol. 

;given to the Britiih church in the year 680, ° See bilhop Lloyd's Hift. Account of 

that female harpers were not then uncom- Church Government in Great Britain, &c. 

mon. It is decreed that no bifhop, or any chap. i. §. 11. pag. 4to. Lond. 1684. And 

«cclefiailic, Ihall keep or have citha- Crymog. Arngrim. L. i. cap. 10. p. 104. 
ji=«DAS, and it is added qUi^cuMQUE 

Vol. I. f poetry 


poetry derived from a barbarous theology. This circum- 
jflance alfo fuggefls to our coniideration, thofe fuperior 
advantages and opportunities arifing from leifure and length 
of time, which they enjoyed above others, of circulating, 
their poetry far and wide, of giving a general currency to 
their mode of fabling, of rendering their ikiil in verfifica- 
tion more univerfally and familiarly known, and a more 
confpicuous and popular obje6l of admiration or imitation 
to the neighbouring countries. Hence too it has happened^^ 
that modern times have not only attained much fuller: 
information concerning their hiilorical tranfactions, but are- 
fo intimately acquainted with the peculiarities of tjieir 
c harai5ler. 

It is probable, that the Danifli invafions produced a con- 
fiderable alteration in the manners of gur Anglo-Saxon an- 
ceftars. Although their connexions with England wer^ 
tranfient and interrupted, and on the whole fcarcely kfted: 
two hundred years, yet many of the Danifli cuftoms began, 
to prevail among the inhabitants, which feem to have givers 
a new turn to their temper and genius. The Danifh faihioji. 
of excellive drinking, for inftanee, a vice aim oft natural to^ 
the northern nations, became fo general among the Anglo- 
Saxons, that it was found necelTary to reftrain fo pernicious 
and contagious a practice by a particular ftatute ''. Hence 
it feems likely, that fo popular an entertainment as their 
poetry gained ground ; efpecially if we confider, that in their 
expeditions againft England they were of courfe attended, 
by many northern fcalds, who conftantly made a part of 
their military retinue, and whofe language was underftood 
by the Saxons. Rogwald, lord of the Orcades, who was 
alfo himfelf a poet, going on an expedition into Paleftine, 
carried with him two Jflandic bards **. The noble ode, called 

' See Lambarde's Archaionom. And s Ol. Worm. Lit. Run. p. 195. edit. 

Bartholin, ii. c. xii. p. 542. 1636. 



in the northern chronicles the Elogium of Hacon ', king 
of Norway, was compofed on a battle in which that prhice, 
with eight of his brothers fell, by the fcald Ey vynd ; who for 
his fuperior Ikill in poetry was called the Cross of Poets, 
and fought in the battle which he celebrated. Hacon earl 
of Norway was accompanied by five celebrated bards in 
the battle of Jomfburgh : and we are told, that each of 
them fung an ode to animate the foldiers before the en- 
gagement began *. They appear to have been regularly 
brought into adlion. Olave, a king of Norway, when his 
army was prepared for the onfet, placed three fcalds about 

' In this ode are thefe very fublime ima- 
geries and profopopeas. 

*' The goddeffes who prefide over battles 
** come, fent forth by Odin. They go to 
" chufe among the princes of the illuftrious 
" raceof Yngvon a man who is to perifh, 
** and to go to dwell in the palace of the 
«' gods." 

** Gondula leaned on the end of her 
** lance, and thus befpoke her companions. 
** Theaffembly of the gods is going to be 
** increafed : the gods invite Hacon, with 
" his numerous hoft, to enter the palace of 
" Odin." 

•* Thus fpake thefe glorious nymphs of 
" war : who were feated on their horfes, 
** who were covered with their fhields and 
*' helmets, and appeared full of fome great 
«' thought." 

" Hacon heard their difcourfe. Why, 
" faid he, why haft thou thus difpofed of 
*' the battle ? Were we not worthy to have 
" obtained of the gods a more perfeft vic- 
** tory ? It is we, fhe replied, who have 
*• given it thee. It is we who have put 
** thine enemies to flight." 

" Now, added fhe, let us pufh forward 
" our fteeds acrofs thofe green worlds, 
•' which are the refidence of the gods. 
" Let us go tell Odin that the king is com- 
•* ing to vifit him in his palace." 

'• When Odin heard this news, he faid, 
*' Hermode and Brago, my fons, go to 
" meet the king: a king, admired by 

** all men for his valour, approaches to om* 
«' hall." 

"At length king Hacon approaches; and 
*' arriving from the battle is ftill all be- 
*• fprinkled and running down with blood. 
" At the fight of Odin he cries out, Ah ! 
*' how fevere and terrible does this god 
" appear to me !" 

" The hero Brago replies. Come, thou 
** that waft the terror of the braveft ^Var- 
" riors : Come hither, and rejoin thine 
** eight brothers : the heroes who refide 
" here Ihall live with thee in peace : Go, 
*' drink Ale in the circle of heroes." 

** But this valiant king exclaims, I will 
*' ftill keep my arms : a warrior ought 
*' carefully to prefervehis mail and helmet: 
** it is dangerous to be a momeat without 
" the fpear in one's hand." — 

** The wolf Fenris fhall burft his chains 
" and dart with rage upon his enemies, 
*• before fo brave a king (hall again appear 
" upon earth, &c." 

Snorron. Hift. Reg. Sept. i. p. 1 6 3 . This 
ode was written fb early as the year 960. 
There is a great variety and bcldnefs in the 
tranfitions. An aftion is carried on by a fet 
of the moft aweful ideal perfonages, finely 
imagined. The goddefi'es of battle, Odin, 
his fons Hermode and Brago, and the 
fpedlre of the decealed king, are all in- 
troduced, fpeaking and afting as in a drama. 
The panegyric is nobly conduced, and 
arifes out of the fublimity of the fidion. 

* Bartholin, p. 172, 

f 2 him, 


him, and exclaimed aloud, " You fhall not only record irt 
" your verfes what you have heard, but what you have. 
" SEEN." They each delivered an ode on the fpot *. Thefe 
northern chiefs appear to have fo frequently hazarded their 
lives with fuch amazing intrepidity, merely in expe6ta- 
tion of meriting a panegyric from their poets, the judges, 
arid the fpe6lators of their gallant behaviour. That fcalds 
were common in the Danifh^ armies when they invaded 
England, appears from a ftratagem of Alfred j who, availing 
himfelf of his fkill in oral poetry and playing on the 
harp, entered the Danifh camp habited in that chara6ler,. 
and procured a hofpitable reception. This was in the year 
878 ". Anlaff, a Daniih king, ufed the fame difguife for re- 
connoitring the camp of our Saxon monarch Athelflan : tak- 
ing his jftation near Athelflan 's pavilion, he entertained the- 
king and his chiefs with his verfes and mufic, and was dif- 
miffed with an honourable reward "". As AnlafF's diale6l 
muft have difcovered him to have been a Dane; here is a 
proof, of what I fhall bring more, that the Saxons, even in 
the midft of mutual hoftilities, treated the Danifli fcalds 
with favour and refpe6t. That the Iflandic bards were com- 
mon in England during the Danifh irivafions, there are 
numerous proofs. Egill, a celebrated Iflandic poet, having, 
murthered the fon and many of the friends of Eric Blodoxe, 
king of Denmark or Norway, then refiding in Northum- 
berland, and which he had Jufl conquered, procured a pardon 
by fmging before the king, at the command of his queen 
Gunhilde, an extemporaneous ode ''. Egill compliments the 
fcng, who probably was his patron, with theappellation of the 

' Olaf. Sag. apud Verel. ad. Her v. But no fufficient argument has yet been of- 

Sag. p. 178. Bartholin, p. 172. fered for pronouncing them fpurious, or* 

" Ingulph. Hift. p. 869. Malmelb. ii. even fufpicious. See an ingenious DifTerta- 

c. 4. p. 45. tion in the Arch.«ologia, vol. ii. p. 100. 

* Malmefb. ii. 6. I am aware, that the feq, A. D. 1773. 4to. 
truth of both thefe anecdotes refpedling " See Crymogri Angrim. Jon. Lib. ii. 

Alfred and AnlafF has been controverted. pag. 125, edit. 1609. 



Engliili chief. " I offer my freight to the king. I owe a 
" poem for my ranfom. I prefent to the English chiei? 
*< the mead of Odin ^" Afterwards he calls this Danifb 
conqueror the commander of the Scottifh fleet. " The com- 
" mander of the Scottifh fleet fattened the ravenous birds ^ 
" The fifter of Nera [Death]- trampled on the foe : flie 
" trampled on the evening food of the eagle." The Scots 
ufually joined the Daniih or Norwegian invaders in their 
attempts on the northern parts of Britain ^ : and from this 
circumftance a new argument arifes, to fhew the clofe com- 
munication and alliance which mufl: have fubflfted between 
Scotland and Scandinavia. Egill, although of the enemy's/ 
party, was a fmgular favourite of king Athelfl:an. Athelllaii 
once alked Egill how he efcaped due punifliment from Eric 
Blodoxe, the king of Northumberland, for the very capital- 
and enormous crime which I have juft mentioned. On whicli 
Egill immediately related the whole of that tranfaction to 
the Saxon king, in a fublime ode ftill extant *. On another 
occafion Athelftan prefented Egill with two rings, and two 
large cabinets filled with filver ; promifing at the iame time, 
to grant him any gift or favour which he fliouldchufe to 
requefl:. Egill, fl:ruck. with gratitude, immediately compofed 
a panegyrical poem in the Norwegian language, then com- 
mon to both nations, on the virtues of Athelftan, which, 
the latter as generoufly requited with two marcs of pure 
gold ^ Here is likewife another argument that the. Saxons 
had no^ fmall efteem for the fcaJdic poetry. It is highly rea- 
fonable to conje6lure, that our Danifli king Canute, a po- 
tentate of mofl extenfive jurifdi6lion, and not only king of 

y See Ol. Worm. Lit. Run. p. 227. 19J. » Torfssus Hift. Oread. Prafat. «' Rei. 

All the chiefs of Eric were alfo prefent at *' ftatim ordinem metro nunc fatis obfcuro 

the recital of this ode, which is in a noble *' expofuit." Torfxus adds, which is 

ftrain. much to our purpofe, " nequaquam ita 

^ Seethe Saxon epinicion in praife of •* narraturus non intelligenti.'* 
king Athelftan. fupr. citat. Hen, Hunting. ^ Crymog. Arn. Jon. p. 129. ut fupr. 

Li. v.. p. 20 J. 204.. 



England, but of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, was not 
without the cuftomary retinue of the northern courts, in 
which the fcalds held fo diftinguiftied and important a fta- 
tion. Human nature, in a favage ftate, afpires to fome 
fpecies of merit; and in every ftage of fociety is alike fufcep- 
tible of flattery, when addrelTed to the reignmg pafTion. The 
fole obje6l of thefe northern princes was military glory. It 
is certain that Canute delighted in this mode of entertain* 
ment, which he patronifed and liberally rewarded. It is 
related in Knythnga-Saga, or Canute's Hiftory, that he 
commanded the fcald Loftunga to be put to death, for 
daring to comprehend his atchievements in too concife a 
poem. " Nemo, faid he, ante te, aufus eft de me breves 
" CANTILENAS componcre." A curious pi6lure of the tyrant, 
the patron, and the barbarian, united ! But the bard extorted 
a fpeedy pardon, and with much addrefs, by producing the 
next day before the king at dinner an ode of more than 
thirty ftrophes, for which Canute gave him fifty marcs of 
purified filver \ In the mean time, the Danifh language 
began to grow perfe6lly familiar in England. It was eagerly 
learned by the Saxon clergy and nobility, from a principle 
of ingratiating themfelves with Canute : and there are 
many manufcripts now remaining, by which it will appear, 
that the Danifh runes were much ftudied among our Saxon 
anceftors, under the reign of that monarch \ 

The fongs of the Irilh bards are by fome conceived to be 
ftrongly marked with the traces of fcaldic imagination ; and 
thefe traces, which will be reconfidered, are believed ftill to 
furvive among a fpecies of poetical hiftorians, whom they 
call Tale-Tellers, fuppofed to be the defcendants of the 
original Iriih bards \ A writer of equal elegance and vera- 

^ Bartholin. Antiquit. Danic. Lib. i. ^ Hickes, ubi fupr. i. i 34. i 36. 

cap. 10. p. i6g. 170. SccKnytlinga ^ We are informed by the Irifh hifto- 

Saga, in Catal. Codd. MSS. Bibl. Holra. rians, that faint Patrick, when he converted 
Hickef. Thcfaur. ii. 312. Ireland to the Chriltian faith, dellroyed 



«;ity relates, ** that a gentleman of the north of Ireland has 
often told me of his own experience, that in his wolf- 
huntings there, when he ufed to be abroad in the moun- 
tains three or four days together, and laid very ill in the 
night, Co as he could not well fleep, they would bring 
*^' him one of thefe tale-tellers, that when he lay down 
" would begin a ftory of a king, or a giant, a dwarf, 
" and a damsel ^" Thefe are topics in which the Runic 
poetry is faid to have been greatly converfant. 

Nor is it improbable that the Wellh bards ^ might have 
been acquainted with the Scandinavian, fcalds. I mean be- 





three hundred volumes of the fongs of the 
Irifh bards. Such was their dignity in this 
country,, that they were permitted to wear 
a robe of the fame colour with that of the 
royal family. They were conflantly fum- 
moned to a triennial feftival : and the moit 
approved fongs delivered at this afTembly 
were ordered to be prefervcd in the cullody 
of the king's hiftorian or antiquary. Many 
of thefe compoiitions are referred to by 
Keating, as the foundation of his hiftory 
of Ireland. Ample eftates were appro- 
priated to them,, that they might live in a 
condition of independence and eafe. The 
profeflion was hereditary : but when a bard 
died, his eftate devolved not to his eldeft 
fon, but to fuch of his family as difcovered. 
the moft diftingulfhed talents for poetry 
and mufic. Every principal bard retained 
thirty of inferior note, as his attendants ; 
and a bard of the fecondary clafs was fol- 
lowed by a retinue of fifteen. They feem 
to have been at their height in the year 558. 
See Keating's Hiftory of Ireland, p.. 127. 
132. 370. 380. And Pref. p. 23. None 
of their poems have been tranflated. 

There is an article in the Laws of Ke- 
neth king of Scotland, promulged in the 
year 850, which places the bards of Scot- 
lartd, who certainly were held in equal 
efteem with thofe of the neighbouring; 
countries, in the loweft ftation. *' Fugi- 
** tivos, BARDos, otio addiftos, fcurras et 
** hujufmodi hominum genus, loris et fla- 
** gri/ c^dunto." Apud Heftor. Boeth. 
Lib. X. p. 2CJ, edit. 1S74' But Salma- 

fius very juftly obferves, that for Bardos 
we ftiould read Vargos, or Vergos, i. e. 

^ Sir W. Temple's Eflays, part iv. p. 


i The bards of Britain were originally 

a conftitutional appendage of the druidical 
hierarchy. In the pariih of Llanidan in 
the ifle of Anglefey, there are ftill to be 
feen the ruins of an arch-druid's manfion, 
which they call Trer Drew,, that is the 
Druid's mansion. Near it are marks 
of the habitations of the feparate conven- 
tual focieties, which were under his imme- 
diate orders and infpeftion. Among thefe 
is Trer beird, or, as they call it to this 
day, the Hamlet OF the bards. Row- 
lands's Mona, p. 83. 88. But fo ftrong 
was the attachment of the Celtic nations, 
among which we reckon Britain, to poetry, 
that, amidft all the changes of government 
and manners, even long after the order of 
Druids was extinft, and the national reli- 
gion altered, the bards, acquiring a fort 
of civil capacity, and a new eftablifh- 
ment, ftill continued to flourifh. And with 
regard to Britain, the bards flourifhed moft 
in thofe parts of it, which moft ftrongly 
retained their native Celtic charafter. The 
Britons living in thofe countries that were 
between the Trent or Humber and the 
Thames, by far the greateft portion of this 
ifland, in the midft of the Roman garrifons 
and colonies, had been fo long inured to ■ 
the cuftoms of the Romans, that they pre- 
fervcd very little of the Britifti 5 and from 



fore "their communications with Armorica, mentioned at 
large above. The profody of the Welfh bards depended 
much on alliteration \ Hence they feem to have paid an at- 
tention to the fcaldic verfiiication. The Illandic poets are 
faid to have carried alliteration to the higheft pitch of exafit- 
nefs in their earlieft periods: vi^hereas the Welfh bards of 
the fixth century ufed it but fparingly, and in a very imper- 
fedl degree. In this circumftance a proof of imitation, at 
leaft of emulation, is implied '. There are moreover, ftrong 
inftances of conformity between the manners of the two 
nations ; which, however, may be accounted for on general 
principles arifing from our comparative obfervations on rude 
life. Yet it is remarkable that mead, the northern ne6lar, 
or favourite liquor of the Goths ", who feem to have ilamped 
it with the chara6ler of a poetical drink, was no lefs cele- 
brated among the Welfh'. The fongs of both nations abound 

this long and habitual intercourfe, beforfi 
the fifth century, they feem to have loft 
their original language. We cannot dif- 
cover the flighteft trace, in the poems of the 
bards, the Lives of the Britilh faints, or 
any other antient monument, that they 
held any correfpondence with the Welfh, 
the Cornilh, the Cumbrian, or the Strath- 
cl vd Britons. Among other Britifh infti- 
-tu ions grovk'n obfolete among them, they 
f-cm to have loft the ufe of Bards ; at leaft 
there are no memorials of any they had, 
nor any of their fongs remaining : nor do 
the Welfh or Cumbrian poets ever touch 
upon any tranfaftions that palTed in thofe 
countries, after they were relinquifhed by 
the Romans. 

And here we fee the reafon why the 
Welfti bards flourifhed fo much and fo 
long. But moreover the Welfh, kept in 
awe as they were by the Romans, harraffed 
by the Saxons, and eternally jealous of the 
attacks, the encroachments, and the neigh- 
bourhood of aliens, were on this account 
attached to their Celtic manners : this fitua- 
tion, and thefe circumftances, infpired them 
with a pride and an obftinacy for man- 

taining a national diftinftion, and for pre- 
ferving their antient ufages, among which 
the bardic profeffion is fo eminent. 

^ See infr. Sect. x. p. 32. 

* I am however informed by a very in- 
telligent antiquary in Britifh literature, 
that there are manifeft marks of alliteration 
in fome druidical fragments ftill remaining, 
undoubtedly compofed before the Britons 
could have poffibly mixed in the fmalleft 
degree with any Gothic nation. Rhyme is 
likewife found in the Britifh poetry at the 
earlieft period, in thofe druidical triplets 
called Englyn Milwr, or the War- 
rior's Song, in which every verfe is 
clofed with a confonant fyllable. Sec a 
metrical Druid oracle in Borlafe's Antiquit. 
CornwalL B. iii. ch. 5. p. 185. edit. 

^ And of the antient Franks. Gregory 
of Tours mentions a Frank drinking this 
liquor ; and adds, that he acquired this 
habit from the barbarous or Frankifh 
nations, Hift. Franc, lib. viii. c. 33. p« 
404. ed. 1699. Parif. fol. 
' See infr. Sect. xvi. p. 430. 



With its praifes ; and it feems in both to have been alike the 
deUght of the warrior and the bard. TaUeffin, as Lhuyd 
informs us, wrote a panegyrical ode on this infpiring beverage 
of the bee ; or, as he tranflates it, De Mulforum Hydromeli ". 
In Hoel Dha's Welfli laws, tranflated by Wootton, we have, 
" In omni convivio in quo mulsum bibitur '." From which 
paflage, it feems to have been ferved up only at high feflivals. 
By the fame conftitutions, at every feaft in the king's caftle- 
hall, the prefe6l or marfhal of the hall is to receive from the 
queen, by the hands of the fleward, a horn of mead. It 
is alfo ordered, among the privileges annexed to the office 
of prefe6t of the royal hall, that the king's bard fhall fmg 
to him as often as he pleafes". One of the ftated officers of 
the king's houfliold is Confector Mulsi : and this officer, 
together with the matter of the horfe ", the mafter of the 
hawks, the fmith of the palace °, the royal bard ^ the firfi: 

^ Tanner BIbl. p. 706. 

' Leg. Wall. L. i. cap. xxiv. p. 45. 

"' Ibid. L. i. cap. xii. p. 17. 

" When the king makes a prefent of a 
horfe, this officer is to receive a fee ; but 
not when the prefent is made to a bifhop, 
the mafter of the hawks, or to the Mimus. 
The latter is exempt, on account of the en- 
tertainment he aiForded the court at being 
prefented with a horfe by the king : the 
horfe is to be led out of the hall with ca^ 
fijlrum tefiiculis alUgatum. Ibid. L. i. 
cap. xvii. p. 31. Mimus feems hereto 
be a MIMIC, or a gefticulator. Carpen- 
tier mentions a " Joculator qui fciebat 
** TOMBARE, to tumble.''^ Cang. Lat. 
Gloff. Suppl. V. Tomb A RE. In the Saxon 
canons given by king Edgar, about the year 
960, it is ordered, that no prieft fhall be a 
P o E T , or exercife the m i m i c a l or hiftrio- 
nical art in any degree^ either in public or 
private. Can. 58. Concil. Spelman, tom. i. 
p. 455. edit. 1639. fol. In Edgar's Ora- 
tion to Dunftan, the Mi mi, Minftrels, are 
faid both to fmg and dance. Ibid. p. 47 7. 
Much the fame injunftion occurs in the 
Saxon Laws of the Northumbrian 
Priests, given in 988. Cap. xli. ibid. 
p. 498. Mimus feems fometimes to have 

Vol. L 

fignlfied The Fool. As In Gregory of 
Tours, fpeaking of the Mimus of Miro 
a king of Gallicia. " Erat enim mimus 
" regis, qui ei per verba jocularia 
*' L.KTITIAM erat folitus EXCiTARE.Sed 
" non cum adjuvit aliquis cachinnus, 
'* neque prasftigiis artis fuse, &c." Gre- 
gor. Turonenf Miracul. S. Martin. lib. 
iv. cap. vii. p 11 19. Opp. Parif. 1699. ^'^^* 
edit. Ruinart. 

° He is to work free : except for mak- 
ing the king's cauldron, the iron bands, 
and other furniture for his caftle-gate, and 
the iron- work for his mills. Leg. Wall. 
L. i. cap. xliv. p. (i-j. 

P By thefe conftitutions, given about the 
year 940, the bard of the Wellh kings is a 
domeftic officer. The king is to allow him 
a horfe and a woollen robe ; and the queen 
a linen garment. The prefect of the 
palace, or governor of the caftle, is privi- 
leged to fit next him in the hall, on 
the three principal feaft days, and to put 
the harp into his hand. On the three 
feaft days he is to have the ftevvard's 
robe for a fee. He is to attend, if the 
queen delires a fong in her chamber. Avi. 
ox or cow is to be given out of the booty 
or prey (chiefly confifting of cattle) taken 
G - fronv 



muficianS with fome others, have a right to he ' feated in the 
hall. We have already feen, that the Scandinavian fcalds were 
well known in Ireland: and there is fufficient evidence to 
prove, that the Welfh bards were early connected with the 
Irifli. Even fo late as the eleventh century, the pra6lice 
continued among the Welfh bards, of receiving inftru6lions 
in the bardic profeflion from Ireland. The Welfh bards 
were reformed and regulated by GryfFyth ap Conan, king of 
Wales, in the year 1078. At the fame time he brought 
over with him from Ireland many Irifh bards, for the infor- 
mation and improvement of the Welfli '. Powell acquaints 
uSj that this prince *' brought over with him from Ireland 
" divers cunning muftcians into Wales, who devifed in a 
" manner all the inflrumental mufic that is now there ufed: 
*' as appeareth, as well by the bookes written of the fame. 

from the Englifh by the king's dome- 
ftics : and while the prey is dividing, he is 
to fing the praifes of the British Kings 
or King DOM. If, when the king's domef- 
tics go out to make depredations, he iings 
or plays before them, he is to receive the 
beft bullock. When the king's army is in 
array, he is to fing the Song of the British 
Kings. When invefted with his office, 
the king is to give him a harp, (other con- 
flitutions fay a chefs-board,) and the queen 
a ring of gold ; nor is he to give away the 
harp on any account. When he goes out 
of the palace to fing with other bards, he 
is to receive a double portion of the lar- 
gefle or gratuity. If he aflc a gift or fa- 
vour of the king, he is to be fined by finging 
an ode or poem : if of a nobleman or chief, 
three ; if of a vaflal, he is to fing hira to 
fleep. Leg. Wall, L. i. cap. xix. p. 35. 
Mention is made of the bard who gains the 
CHAIR in the hall. Ibid. Artic. 5. Af- 
ter a conteft of bards in the hall, the bard 
who gains the chair, is to give theJirocE 
OF THE HALL, another officer, a horn, 
(cornu bubalinum) a ring, and the cufhion 
of his chair. Ibid. L. i. cap. xvi. p. 26. 
When the king rides out of his caftle, 
Ave bards are to accompany him. Ibid. 

L. i. cap. viii. p. 1 1. The Cornu Bubali- 
num may be explained from a paflage in a 
poem, compofed about the year 1160, by 
Owain Cyveiliog prince of Powis, which 
he entitled Hi R. LAS, from a large drink- 
ing horn fo called, ufed at fealts in his 
caftle-hall. " Pour out, o cup-bearer, fweet 
" and pleafant mead (the fpear is red in 
" the time of need) from the horns of 
** wild oxen, covered with gold, to the fouls 
** of thofe departed heroes." Evans, p. 12. 

By thefe laws the king's harp is to be 
worth one hundred and twenty pence : but 
that of a gentleman, or one not a vaflal, 
fixty pence. The king's chefs-board is 
valued at the fame price : and the inftru- 
ment for fixing or tuning the firings of the 
king's harp, at twenty-four pence. His 
drinking-horn, at one pound. Ibid. L. iii. 
cap. vii. p. 265. 

•J There are two muficians : the Muficus 
PRiMARius, who probably was a teacher, 
and certainly a fuperintendant over the reft ; 
and the Hall-musician. Leg. ut fupr, 
L. i. cap. xlv. p. 68. 

r *' Jus cathedra;." Ibid. L. i. cap. x. 

P- 13- 

* See Selden, Drayt. Polyole. S. ix. 

pag. 156. S. iv. pag. 67. edit. 1613. fol. 




" as alfo by the names of the tunes and meafures ufed 
** among them to this dale '." In Ireland, to kill a bard 
was highly criminal : and to feize his eflate, even for the 
public fervice and in time of national diftrefs, was deemed 
an a6l of facrilege ". Thus in the old Welfh laws, whoever 
even flightly injured a bard, was to be fined fix cows and 
one hundred and twenty pence. The murtherer of a bard 
was to be fined one hundred and twenty-fix cows ^, Nor 
mufl I pafs over, what refle^ls much light on this reafoning» 
that the eftablifliment of the houfhold of the old Irifh 
chiefs, exa(5lly refembles that of the Wellli kings. For, 
befides the bard, the mufician, and the fmith, they have 
both a phyfician, a huntfman, and other correfponding 
officers ''. We mufl: alfo remember, that an intercourfe was 
neceffarily produced between the Welfh and Scandinavians, 
from the piratical irruptions of the latter : their fcalds, as 
I have already remarked, were refpe6ted and patronifed in 
the ceurts of thofe princes, whofe territories were the prin- 
cipal obje6ls of the Danifh invafions. Torfaeus exprefsly 
affirms this of the Anglo-Saxon and Irifh kings ; and it is 

' Hid. of Cambr. p. 191. edit. 1584. 

" Keating's Hift. Ireland, pag. 132. 

^ Leg. Wall, ut fupr. L. i. cap. xix. 
pag. 35. feq. See alfo cap. xlv. p. 68. We 
find the fame refpeft paid to the bard in 
other conftitutions. " Qui Harpato- 
•* REM, &c. whoever fhall ftrike a har- 
*' PER who can harp in a public aflembly, 
" fhall compound with him by a compo- 
" fition of /our times more, than for any 
" other man of the fame condition." Legg. 
Ripuariorum et Wefinorum. Lindenbroch. 
Cod. LL. Antiq. Wifigoth. etc. A. D. 
161 3. Tit. 5. §. ult. 

The caliphs,and other eafterri potentates, 
had their bards : whom they treated with 
equal refpeft. Sir John Maundeville, who 
travelled in 1340, fays, that when the em- 
peror of Cathay, or great Cham of Tar- 
tiry, is feated at dinner in high pomp with 
his lords, *' no man is fo hardi to fpeak 

" to him except it be Musicians td 
*' jolace the emperour" chap. Ixvii. p. I09. 
Here is another proof of the correfpon- 
dence between the eaftern and northern 
cuftoms : and this inftance might be brought 
as an argument of the bardic in ftitution being 
fetched from the eaft. Leo Afer mentions 
the Poeta; curies of the Caliph's court at Bag- 
dad, about the year 990. DeMed. et Philof. 
Arab. cap. iv. Thofe poets were in mofl 
repute among the Arabians, who could 
fpeak extemporaneous verfes to the Caliph. 
Eufeb. Renaudot. apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. 
xiii. p. 249. Thomfon, in the Castle 
of Indolence, mentions the Bard in 
WAITING being introduced to lull the 
Caliph afleep. And Maundeville men- 
tions MiNSTRELLES as eftablifhed officers 
in the court of the emperor of Cathay. 
^ See Temple, ubifupr. p. 346. 

g 2 



at leaft probable, that they were entertained with equal re- 
gard by the Welfh princes, who fo frequently concurred 
with the Danes in diftrefling the Englifh. It may be added, 
that the Welfh, although living in a feparate and 
detached fituation, and fo ftrongly prejudiced in favour of 
their own ufages, yet from neighbourhood, and unavoidable 
communications of various kinds, might have imbibed the 
ideas of the Scandinavian bards from the Saxons and Danes, 
after thofe nations had occupied and overfpread all the other 
parts of our ifland. 

Many pieces of the Scottifh bards are ftill remaining in 
the high-lands of Scotland. Of thefe a curious fpecimen, 
and which confidered in a more extenfive and general refpefl, 
is a valuable monument of the poetry of a rude period, has 
lately been given to the world, under the title of the Works 
OF OssiAN. It is indeed very remarkable, that in thefe 
poems, the terrible graces, which fo naturally chara<5terife, 
and fo generally conftitute, the early poetry of a barbarous 
people, fhould fo frequently give place to a gentler fet of 
manners, to the focial fenfibilities of polifhed life, and a 
more civilifed and elegant fpecies of imagination. Nor is 
this circumflance, which difarranges all our eflablifhed ideas 
concerning the favage ftages of fociety, eafily to be accounted 
for, unlefs we fuppofe, that the Celtic tribes, who were fo 
ftrongly addidled to poetical compofition, and who made it 
fo much their ftudy from the earlieft times, might by de- 
grees have attained a higher vein of poetical refinement, 
than could at firft fight or on common principles be 
expe6led among nations, whom we are accuftomed to call 
barbarous j that feme few inftances of an elevated ftrain 
of friendfhip, of love, and other fentimental feelings, ex- 
ifting in fuch nations, might lay the foundation for intro- 
ducing a fet of manners among the bards, more refined and 
exalted than the real manners of the country : and that 
panegyrics on thofe virtues, tranfmitted with improvements 




from bard to bard, muft at length have formed chara6lers 
of ideal excellence, which might propagate among the peo- 
ple real manners bordering on the poetical. Thefe poems, 
however, notwithftanding the difference between the Gothic 
and the Celtic rituals, contain many vifible veftiges of Scan- 
dinavian fuperftition« The allufions in the fongs of Oflian 
to fpirits, who preiide over the different parts and direct 
the various operations of nature, who lend florms over the 
deep, and rejoice in the fhrieks of the fhipwrecked mariner, 
who call down lightning to blaft the foreft or cleave the 
rock, and diffufe irrefiftibie peflilence among the people, 
beautifully conducted indeed, and heightened, under the 
Ikilful hand of a mafler bard, entirely correfpond with the 
Runic fyflem, and breathe the fpirit of its poetry. One 
fidlion in particular, the moll extravagant in all Oflian's 
poems, is founded on an elTential article of the Runic belief* 
It is where Fingal fights with the fpirit of Loda. Nothing 
could aggrandife Fingal's heroifm more highly than this 
marvellous encounter. It was efteemed among the antient 
Danes the moft daring a61: of courage to engage with a 
ghoft ^ Had Offian found it convenient, to have introduced 
religion into his compofitions % not only a new fource had 

y BarthoKn. De Contemptu Mortis apud 
Dan. L. ii. c. 2. p. 258. And ibid. p. 
z6o. There are many other marks of 
Gothic cuftoms and fiiperftitions in OfHan. 
The fafhion of marking the fepulchres of 
their chiefs with circles of ftones, cor- 
jefponds with what Olaus Wormius relates 
•ef theDanes. Monum. Danic. Hafn. 1634. 
p. 38. See aifo 01. Magn. Hift. xvi. 2. 
In the Hervarer Saga-, the fword of 
Suarfulama is forged by the dwarfs, and 
called Tirfing. Hickes, vol. i. p. 193. So 
Fingal's fword was made by an enchanter, 
«nd was called the son ofLuNO. And, 
what is more, this Luno v/as the Valcan 
of the north, lived in Juteland,^ and made 
<omplete fuits of armour for many of the 
^Scandinavian heroes. See Temora, B, 

vii. p. 159. OssiAN, vol. ii. edk. 1761?. 
Hence the bards of both countries made 
him a celebrated enchanter. By the way, 
the names of fword-fmiths were thought 
worthy to be recorded in hiJlory. Hove- 
den fays, that when Geoffrey of Planta- 
genet was knighted, they brought him a 
fword from the royal ireafure, where it 
had been laid up from old times, ** being 
" the workman fhip .of Galan, the moft 
** excellent of all fword-lmiths." Hoved. 
f. 444. ii. Sect. 50- The mere mechanic, 
who is only mentioned as a fldlful artift in 
hiftory, becomes a magician or a preter- 
natural being in romance. 

* This perplexing and extraordinary cir- 
■cumftance, I mean the abfence of all reli- 
gious ideas from the poems of Offian, i« 




been opened to the fublime, in defcribing the rites of facri- 
fice, the horrors of incantation, the folemn evocations of 
infernal beings, and the like dreadful fuperflitions, but pro- 
bably many ftronger and more chara6leriftical evidences 
would have appeared, of his knowledge of the imagery of 
the Scandinavian poets. 

Nor muft we forget, that the Scandinavians had con- 
quered many countries bordering upon France in the fourth 
century \ Hence the Franks muft have been in fome ,mea- 
fure ufed to their language, well acquainted with their man- 
ners, and converfant in their poetry. Charlemagne is faid 
to have delighted in repeating the moft antient and bar- 
barous odes, which celebrated the battles of antient kings \ 

accounted for byMr. Macpherfon with much 
addrefs. See Dissertation prefixed, 
vol. i. p. viii. ix. edit. 1765. See alfo the 
elegant critical Dissertation of the 
very judicious Dr. Blair, vol. ii. p. 379. 

^ Hickef. Thef. i. part ii. p. 4. 

^ Eginhart. cap. viii. n. 34. Bartholin. 
i. c. 10. p. 154. Diodorus Siculus fays, 
that the Gauls, who were Celts, delivered 
the fpoils won in battle, yet reeking with 
blood, to their attendants : thefe were car- 
ried in triumph, while an epinicial fong 
was chanted, vctiacvi^ovli^ x^ a^ovls? vi/.vov 
evmatcv. Lib. 5. p. 352. See alfo p. 308. 
" The Celts, fays ^lian, I hear, are the 
** moft enterprifing of men : they make 
** thofe warriors who die bravely in fight 
*' the fubjeft of fongs, raJv Acfj-oSm.*' Var. 
Hift. Lib. xxii. c 23. Pofidonius gives us 
a fpecimen of the manner of a Celtic bard. 
He reports, that Luernius, a Celtic chief, 
was accuftomed, out of a defiie of popu- 
larity, to gather crouds of his people to- 
gether, and to throw them gold and filver 
from his chariot. Once he was attended 
at a fumptuous banquet by one of their 
bards, who received in reward for his fong 
a purfe of gold. On this the bnrd renewed 
his fong, adding, to exprefs his patron's 
exceflive generofity, this hyperbolical pa- 
negyric, " The earth over which his cha- 
*' riot-wheels pafs, inllantlty brings forth 

•' gold and precious gifts to enrich man- 
" kind." Athen. vi. 184. 

Tacitus fays, that Arminius, the con- 
queror of Varus, " is yet fung among the 
" barbarous nations." That is, probably 
among the original Germans. Annal. ii. 
AndMor. Germ. ii. 3. Joannes Aventinus, 
a Bavarian, who wrote about the year 1 5 20, 
has a curious paflage, ** A great number 
*' of verfes in praife of the virtues of 
" Attila, are ftiil extant among us, patrio 
*' fermoiis more majorum perfcripta" AnnaL 
Boior.L.ii.p. 1 30. edit. 1 627 . He immediate- 
ly adds, *' Nam et adhuc vulgo cani- 
" TUR, et eft popularibusnoftris,etii lite- 
" RARUM RUDiBus, notifTimus." Again, 
fpeaking of Alexander the Great, he fays, 
" Boios eidem bellum indixiffe antiquis 
*' CANiTuR CARMiNiBus." ibid. Lib. 
i. p. 25. Concerning king Brennus, fays 
the fame hiftorian, " Carmina 'vernacuU 
" fermone fada legi in bibliothecis." ibid. 
Lib. i. p. 16. and p. 26. And again, of 
Ingeram, Adalogerion, and others of their 
ancient heroes, " Ingerami et Adalo- 
" gerlonis nomina frequentiffime in faftis 
" referuntur ; ipfos, more majorum, anti' 

fjuis proavi ceiebrarunt carminibus, qu^ in 
" bibliothecis extant. Subfequuntur, quos 
*' patrio fermone adhuc c animus, Laertes 
" atque Ulyfres," ibid. Lib. i. p. 15. The 
fame hiftorian alfo relates, that his coun- 




But we are not informed whether thefe were Scandinavian, 
Celtic, or Teutonic poems. 

About the beginning of the tenth century, France was 
invaded by the Normans, or Northern-men, an army of 
adventurers from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. And 
although the conquerors, efpecially when their fuccefs does 
not folely depend on fuperiority of numbers, ufually afTume 

trymen had a poetical hiftory called the 
Book of Heroes, containing the at- 
chievements of the German warriors, ibid. 
Lib. i. p. 1 8. See alfo ibid. Lib. vii. 
p. 432. Lib. i. p. 9. And many other 
paflages to this purpofe. SufFridus Petrus 
cites fome old Frilian rhymes, De Orig. 
Frifior. 1. iii. c. 2. Compare Robertfon's 


Hift. Charles V. vol. i. p. 235. edit. 
From Trithemius a German abbot and 
hiftorian^ who wrote about 1490, we learn, 
that among the antient Franks and Ger- 
mans, it was an exercife in the education of 
youth, for them to learn to repeat and to 
ilng verfes of the atchievements of their 
heroes. Compend. Annal. L. i. p. 1 1. edit. 
Francofi 160 1. Probably thefe were the 
poems which Charlemagn£ is faid to have 
committed to memory. 

The moft antient Theotifc or Teutonic 
ode I know, is an Epinicion publifhed by 
-Schilter, in the fecond volume of his The- 
saurus Antiqjjitatum Teutoni- 
CARUM, written in the year 883. He en- 
titles it EniNIKION rythmo Teiitomco Ludo- 
'vic'j regi acclaviatum cum Nortlnnannos anno 
Dccccxxxiii njicijfet. It is in rhyme, 
and in the four-lined ftan7.a. It was tran- 
fcribed by Mabillon from a manufcript in 
the monailery of Saint Amand in Holland. 
I will give a fpecimen from Schilter's Latin 
interpretation, but not on account of the 
merit of the poetry. " The king feized 
•* his ftiield and lance, galloping haftily. 
" He truly vvifted to revenge himfelf on 
" his adverfaries. Nor was there a long 
"delay : he found the Normans. He 
" faid, tKanks be to God, at feeing what 
" he defired. The king rufhed on boldly, 
<* he firfl: begun the cuftomary fong Kyrle 
*' eleifon, in which they all joined. The 
*< fong was fung, the battle begun. The 

*' blood appeared in the cheeks of the im- 
** patient Franks. Every foldier took his 
" revenge, but none like Louis. Impe- 
" tuous, bold, &c." As Xo the military 
chorus Kyrie clci/on, it appears to have 
been ufed by the chriftian emperors before 
an engagement. See Bona, Rer. Liturg- 
ii. c. 4. Voffius, Theo.log. Gentil. i. c. 2. 
3. Matth. Brouerius de Niedek, De Po- 
pulor. vet. et recent. Adorationibus, p. 31. 
And, among the antient JMorvegiaus, Er- 
lingus Scacchius before he attacked earl 
Sigund, commanded his army to pronounce 
this formulary aloud, and to ftrike their 
ihields. Sec Dolmerus ad Hir.d-skraan» 
iive Jus AuUcum antiq. Norvegic. p. 51. 
p. 413. edit. Hafn. 1673. Engelhufius, 
in defcribing a battle with the Huns in the 
year 934, relates, that the chrillians at the 
onfet cried, Kyrie eleifon, but on the other 
fide, diaholica 'vox hiu, hiu, hiu, auditur.. 
Chronic, p. 1073. in torn. ii. Scriptor. 
Brunf. Leibnit. Compare Bed. Hift. Ec- 
clef. Anglican, lib. ii. c. 20. And Schil- 
terus, ubi fupr. p. 1 7. And Sarbiev. Od, 
I. 24. The Greck'church appears to have 
had a fet of military hymns, probably for 
the ufe of the foldiers, either in battle or 
in the camp. In a Catalogue of the manu- 
fcripts of the library of Berne, there is 
** Sylloge Tafticorum Leonis Imperatoris 
" cui operi finem imponunt Hymki Mi- 
** LIT A RES quibus ifte titulus, Ajco^sfiia 
" ■\aXKo[Xi.vci. E7r» y.a\tvii>oiic,iv xj (^D^^OLyjia. 
«' rr?^1«, &c." Catal. Cod, &c. p. 600. 
See Meurfius's edit, of Leo's Tactics ^ 
c. xii. p. 155. Lugd. Bat. 1612. 410. But 
to return to the main fubjeft of this tedious 
note. Wagenfeil, in a letter to Cuperus, 
mentions a treatife written by one Erneft 
Cafimir WafTenback, I fuppofe a German, 
with this title, " De Bardis .^c Barditu, five 

" antiauis 



the manners of the conquered, yet thefe ftrangers muft have 
ftill further familiarifed in France many of their northern 

From this general circulation in thefe and other countries, 
and from that popularity which it is natural to fuppofe they 
muft have acquired, the fcaldic inventions might have taken 
deep root in Europe ^ At leaft they feem to have prepared 
the way for the more eafy admillion of the Arabian fabling 
about the ninth century, by which they were, however, in 
great meafure, fuperfeded. The Arabian fi6lions were of 
a more fplendid nature, and better adapted to the increafing 
civility of the times. Lefs horrible and grofs, they had a 
novelty, a variety, and a magnificence, which carried 
with them the charm of fafcination. Yet it is probable, 
that many of the fcaldic imaginations might have been 
blended with the Arabian, In the mean time, there is great 
reafon to believe, that the Gothic fcalds enriched their vein 
of fabling from this new and fruitful fource of fi6lion, 
opened by the Arabians in Spain, and afterwards propagated 
by the crufades. It was in many refpe6ls cogenial with 
their own ^ : and the northern bards, who vifited the coun- 

*' antiquis Carminibus ac Cantilenis vete- 
*' rum Germanorum Diflertatio, cui junc- 
" tus eft de S. Annone Colonienfi archiepi- 
** fcopo vetuftifiimus omnium Germanorum 
*' rhythmus et monumentum" See Polen. 
Supplem. Thefaur. Gronov et Gnev, torn, 
iv. p. 24. I do not think it was ever 
publiihed. See Joach. Swabius, de Semno- 
theis veterum Germanorum philofophis. 
p. 8. And Sect. i. infr. p. 7 8. Pelloutier, 
fur la Lang. Celt, part i. tom. u ch. xii. 
p. 20. 

We muft be careful to diftinguifli be- 
tween the poetry of the Scandinavians, the 
Teutonics, and the Celts. As moft of the 
Celtic and Teutonic nations were early 
converted to chriftianity^ it is hard to find 
any of their native fongs. But I muft ex- 
cept the poems of Offian, which are noble 
4nd genuine remains of the Celtic poetry. 

^ Of the long continuance of the Celtic 
fuperftitions in the popular belief, fee what 
is faid in the moft elegant and judicious 
piece of criticifm which the prefent age has 
produced, Mrs. Montague's Essay on 
Shakespeare, p. 145. edit. 1772. 

'• Befides the general wildneis of the 
imagery in both, among other particular 
circumftances of coincidence which might 
be mentioned here, the praftice of giving 
names to fwords, which we find in the 
fcaldic poems, occurs alfo among the 
Arabians. In the Hervarer Saga, the 
fword of Suarfulama is called Tirfing. 
Hickef. Thef. i. p. 193. The names of 
fwords of many of the old northern chiefs 
are given us by Olaus Wormius, Lit Run. 
cap. xix. p. no. 4to. ed. Thus, Herbe- 
lot recites a long catalogue of the names 
of the fwords of the moft famous Arabian 



tries where thefe new fancies were fpreading, muik haxrc 
been naturally ftruck with fuch wonders, and were certainly- 
fond of picking up frefh embellifhments, and new ftrokes 
of the marvellous, for augmenting and improving their 
ftock of poetry. The earlieft fcald now on record is not 
before the year 750. From which time the fcalds iiouriflied 
in the northern countries, till below the year 1157% 
The celebrated ode of Regner Lodbrog was compofed about 
the end of the ninth century ^ 

And that this hypothefis is partly true, may be concluded 
from the fubje(5ls of fome of the old Scandic romances, 
manufcripts of which now remain in the royal library at 
Stockholm. The titles of a few fliall ferve for a fpecimen ; 
which I will make no apology for giving at large. " Sagam 
" AF HiALMTER oc Olwer. The Hiftory of Hialmter 
king of Sweden, fon of a Syrian princefs, and of Olver 
Jarl. Containing their expeditions into Hunland, and 
Arabia^ with their numerous encounters with the Vikings 
and the giants. Alfo their leagues with Alfola, daughter 
** of Ringer king of Arabia^ afterwards married to Hervor 

king of Hunland, &c. Sagan af Siod. The Hiftory 

of Siod, fon of Ridgare king of England ; who firft was 
made king of England, afterwards of Babylon and Niniveh, 






and Perfic warriors. V. Saif. p. 736. b. ^^z'O.kx C2X\s, this delight full londe of Faerie^ 

Mahomet had nine fvvords, all which are Yet I muft add, that from one, or both, 

named. As were alfo his bows, quivers, cui- of thefe fources, king Arthur's fword 

raffes, helmets, and lances. His fwords is named in Geoffrey of Monmouth, 

were called The Piercing. Ruiti, Death, &c. Lib. ix. cap. 1 1 . Ron is alfo the 

Mod. Univ. Hift. i. p. 253. This is com- name of his lance, ibid. cap. 4. And 

mon in the romance-writers and Ariofto. Turpin calls Charlemagne's fword Gau- 

Mahomet's horfes had alfo pompous or diofa. See Obf. Spenf. i. §. vi. p. 214. 

heroic appellations. Such as the S^-wift, By the way, from thefe correfpondencies. 

The Thunderer, Shaking the earth nvith his an argument might be drawn, to prove the 

hoof. The Re<i, &c. As likewife his mules, oriental origin of the Goths. And fome 

afles, and camels, Horfes were named in perhaps may think them proofs of the 

this manner among the Runic heroes. See dodlrlne juft now fuggefted in th.e text, 

01. Worm, ut fupr. p. no. Odin's horfe that the fcalds borrowed from the Arabians, 

was called Sleipner. See Edda Ifland. ^ Ol. Worm. Lit. Run. p. 241. 

fab. xxi. I could give other proofs. But ^ Id. Ibid. p. 196. 
we have already wandered too far, in what 

-Vol. I. h " Comprc 






** Comprehending various occurrences in Saxland, Babyion^ 
" Greece t Africa^ and efpecially in Eirice ^ the region of the 
giants. — Sagan af Alefleck. The Hiflory of Alefleck» 
a king of England, and of his expeditions into India and 
Tartary. — Sagan af Erik Widforla. The Hiflory of 
" Eric the traveller, who, with his companion Eric, a Danifli 
" prince, undertook a wonderful journey to Odin's Hall, 
" or Oden's Aker, near the river Fifon in India \" Here 
we fee the circle of the Iflandic poetry enlarged ; and the 
names of countries and cities belonging to another quarter 
of the globe, Arabia, India, Tartary, Syria, Greece, Babylon, 
and Niniveh, intermixed with thofe of Hunland, Sweden, 
and England, and adopted into the northern romantic nar- 
ratives. Even Chai'lemagne and Arthur, whofe hiflories, as 
we have already feen, had been fo lavifhly decorated by the 
Arabian fablers, did not efcape the Scandinavian Icalds *. 
Accordingly we find thefe fubje6ls among their Sagas. 
■** Sagan af Erik Einglands Kappe. The Hiffcory of 
*' Eric, fon of king Hiac, king Arthur's chief wreftler.— * 
*' Historical rhymes of king Arthut*, containing his 

" league with Charlemagne. Sagan af Ivent. The 

" Hiftory of Ivent, king Arthur's principal champion, 
" containing his battles with the giants''. Sagan af 

s In the Latin EiRiCiEA regione. 
f. Erfe or Irifh land. 

^ Wanley, apud Hickes, iii. p. 314. feq. 

' It is amazing how early and how uni- 
verfally this fable was fpread. G. de la 
Flamma fays, that in the year 1339, an 
antient tomb of a king of the Lombards 
was broke up in Italy. On his fword was 
written, " C'el eft I'efpee de MeferTriftant, 
" un qui occift I'Amoroyt d'Yrlant." — 
i. e. '♦ This is the fword of fir Triftram, 
*' who killed Amoroyt of Ireland." 
Script. Ital. torn. xii. 1028. The 
Germans are faid to have fome very an- 
tient narrative fongs on our old Britifh 
lieroes, Triitram, Gawain, and the reft oi 
Uthe knights Von der TafeUrondi* See Gol- 

daft. Not. Vh. Carol. Magn. p. 207. edit. 
171 1. 

^ They have alfo, ** Bretomanna 
** Saga, The Hiflory of the Britons, 
" from Eneas the Trojan to the emperor 
" Conftantius." Wanl. ibid. There are 
many others, perhaps of later date, re- 
lating to Englifh hiftory, particularly the 
hiftory of William the Baftard and other 
chriftians, in their exp3ditiou into the holy 
land. The hiftory of the deftruftion of 
the monafteries in England, by William 
Rufus. Wanl. ibid. 

In the hiftory of the library at Upfal^ 
I find the following articles, which are left 
to the conjedlures of the curious enquirer. 
Hiitoria Biblioth. Xjpfalienf. per Celfium. 






" Karlamagnuse of hoppum HANS. I'he Hijlory of Charle- 
" ma^ne, of his champions^ and captains. Containing all his 
" actions in feveral parts, i. Of his birth and coronation : 
" and the combat of Carvetus king of Babylon, with Od- 
degir the Dane '. 2. Of Aglandus king of Africa, and of 
his fon Jatmund, and their wars in Spain with Charle- 
magne. 3. Of Roland, and his combat with Villaline king 
of Spain. 4. Of Ottuel's converfion to chriftianity, and 
" his marriage with Charlemagne's daughter. 5. Of Hugh 
*' king of Conftantinople, and the memorable exploits of 
" his champions. 6. Of the wars of Ferracute king of 
" Spain. 7. Of Charlemagne's atchievements in Rounce- 
" valles, and of his death '"." In another of the Sagas, 
Jarl, a magician of Saxland, exhibits his feats of necro- 
mancy before Charlemagne. We learn from Olaus Magnus, 
that Roland's magical horn, of which archbifhop Turpin relates 
fuch wonders, and among others that it might be heard at 
the diftance of twenty miles, was frequently celebrated in 
the fongs of the Iflandic bards ". It is not likely that thefe 
pieces, to fay no more, were compofed till the Scandinavian 
tribes had been converted to chriftianity ; that is, as I have 
before obferved, about the clofe of the tenth century. Thefe 
barbarians had an infinite and a national contempt for the 
chriftian's, whofe religion inculcated a fpirit of peace, gen- 
tlenefs, and civility ; qualities fo diffimilar to thofe of their own 

Upf.1745. 8vo. — pag. 88. Artie, vii. Va- 
rize Britannorum fabulae, quas in carmine 
converfas olim, atque in conviviis ad citha- 
ram decantari folitas fuifTe, perhibent. 
Sunt autem relationes de Guiamaro 
equite Britannias meridionalis ^Ikcliod 
Britannis veteribus diftaj. De Nobilium 
duorum conjugibus gemellos enixis ; et id 

genus alia. pag. 87. Artie, v. Drama 

tgJlixoi', fol. in membran. Res continet 
amatorias, olim, ad jocum concitandum 
Iflandica lingua fcriptum. — ibid. Artie, vii. 
The hiftory of Duke Julianus, fon of S. 

Giles. Containing many things of Earl 
William and Rofamund. In the antient 
Iflandic. See Observations on the 
Fairy Queen, i. pag. 203. 204. §. vi. 

1 Mabillon thinks, that Turpin firft 
called this hero a Dane. But this notion 
is refuted by Bartholinus, Antiq. Danic. 
ii. 13. p. 578. His old Gothic fword. 
Spat HA, and iron fhield, are ftill pre- 
ferved and lliewn in a monaftery of the 
north. Bartholin, ibid. p. 579. 

"' Wanley, ut fupr. p. 314. 

" See infr. Sect. iii. p. 13*. 

h 2 



ferocious and warlike difpofition, and which they naturally- 
interpreted to be the marks of cowardice and pufiUanimity °. 
It has, however, been urged, that as the irruption of the 
Normans into France, under their leader Rollo, did not take 
place till towards the beginning of the tenth century, at 
which period the fcaldic art was arrived to the higheft 
perfeftion in Rollo's native country, we can eafily trace the 
defcent of the French and EnglijQi romances of chivalry 
from the Northern Sagas. It isi fuppofed, that Rollo carried 
with him many fcalds frorri the north, who tranfmitted 
their fkill to their children and fucceftbrs : and that thefe, 
adopting the religion, opinions, and language, of the new 
country, fubftituted the heroes of chriftendom, inftead of 
thofe of their pagan anceftors, and began to celebrate the 
feats of Charlemagne, Roland, and Oliver, whofe true 
hiftory they fet oif and embellilhed with the fcaldic figments 
of dwarfs, giants, dragons, and inchantments ^ There is, 
however, fome reafon to believe, that thefe fictions were 
current among the French long before j and, if the principles 
advanced in the former part of this dilTertation be true, the 
fables adhering to Charlemagne's real hiftory muft be 
referred to another fource. 

Let me add, that the inchantments of the Runic poetry 
are very different from thofe in our romances of chivalry. 
The former chiefly deal in fpells and charms, fuch as would 
preferve from poifon, blunt the weapons of an enemy, pro- 
cure vi6lory, allay a tempeft, cure bodily difeafes, or call 
the dead from their tombs : in uttering a form of myfterious 
words, or infcribing Runic characters. The magicians of 
romance are chiefly employed in forming and condud;ing a 
train of deceptions. There is an air of barbaric horror in the 

« RegnerLodbrog, in his Dying Ode, ** There we celebrated a Mass [MifTu, 
fpeaking of a battle fought againft the ** JJland'] of weapons." 
•chriftians, fays, ia ridicule of the eucharift, f Percy's EIT. Metr. Rom. p. viii. 



incantations of the fcaldic fablers : the magicians of lomance 
often prefent vifions of pleafure and delight ; and, although 
not without their alarming terrors, fometimes kad us through 
flowery forefts, and raife up palaces glittering with gold 
and precious ftones. The Runic magic is more like that of 
Canidia in Horace, the romantic refembles that of Armida 
in TafTo. The operations of the one are frequently but 
mere tricks, in comparifon of that fublime iblemnity of 
necromantic machinery which the other fo awefully difplays. 
It is alfo remarkable, that in the earlier fcaldic odes, we 
find but few dragons, giants, and fairies. Thefe were intro- 
duced afterwards, and are the progeny of Arabian fancy. 
Nor indeed do thefe imaginary beings often occur in any of 
the eompofitions which preceded the introdu6lion of that 
fpecies of fabling. On this reafoning, the Irifh tale-teller 
mentioned above, could not be a lineal defcendant of the 
elder Iriili bards. The ab fence of giants and dragons, and, 
let me add, of many other traces of that fantaftic and bril- 
liant imagery which compofes the fyilem of Arabian ima- 
gination, from the poems of Offian, are a ilriking proof of 
their antiquity. It has already been fuggefted, at what 
period, and from what origin, thofe fancies got footing in 
the Welfli poetry : we do not find them in the odes of 
Talieffin or Aneurin \ This reafoning explains an obferva- 

^ Who flouriftied about the year 570. 
He has left a long fpirited poem called Go- 
do din, often alluded to by the later 
Wellh bards, which celebrates a battle 
fought againft the Saxons near Cattraeth, 
under the condutt of Mynnydawe Eiddin, 
in which all the Britons, three only ex- 
cepted, among which was the bard Aneurin 
Jiiinfelf, were flain. 1 will give a fpecimen. 
'" The men whofe drink was mead, comely 
" in fhape, haftened to Ca\traeth. Thefe 
"" impetuous warriors in ranks, armed with 
*' red fpcars, long and bending, began 
^' the battle. Might I fpeak my revenge 
*' againft the people cf the Deiri, I would 
*' overwhelm them, like a deluge, in one 

" flaughter : for unheeding I have loft a 
" friend, who was brave in refifting his 
*• enemies. I drank of the wine and 
*' metheglin of Mordai, whofe fpear was 
" of huge fize. In the fliockof the battle, 
" he prepared food for the eagle. When 
** Cydwal haftened forward, a Ihout arofe : 
** before the yellow morning, when he 
" gave the fignal, he broke the fhield 
" into fmall fplinters. The men haftened 
" to Cattraeth, noble in birth : their drink 
" was wine and mead, out of golden cups. 
" There were three hundred and fixty three 
" adorned with chains of gold ; but of 
" thofe, who filled with wine, rufhed on to 
** the iight, only three efcaped, wlio hewed 

" their 



tion of an ingenious critic in this fpecies of literature, and 
who has fludied the works of the Welfh bards with much 
attention. " There are not fuch extravagant flights in 
'^ any poetic compofitions, except it be in the eastern; to 
" which, as far as I can judge by the few tranflated fpeci- 
" mens I have feen, they bear a near rejemblance \" 1 will 
venture to fay he does not meet with thefe flights in the 
elder Welfh bards. The beautiful romantic fi6lion, that 
king Arthur, after being wounded in the fatal battle of Cam- 
Ian, was conveyed by an Elfin princefs into the land of 
Faery, or fpirits, to be healed of his wounds, that he reigns 
there ftill as a mighty potentate in all his priftine fplendour, 
and will one day return to refume his throne in Britain, 
and reflore the folemnities of his champions, often occurs in 
the antient Welfli bards'. But not in the moll antient. It 











their way with the fword, the warrior 
of Acron, Conan Dacarawd, and I the 
bard Aneurin, red with blood, otherwife 
I fhould not have furvived to compofe 
this fong. When Caradoc haftened to 
the war, he was the fon of a wild boar, 
in hewing down the Saxons ; a bull in 
the conflict of fight, he twifted the wood 
[fpear] from their hands. Gurien faw 
not his father after he had lifted the 
gliftening mead in his hand. I praife 
all the warriors who thus met in the 
battle, and attacked the foe v/ith one 
mind. Their life was Ihort, but they 
have left a long regret to their friends. 
Yet of the Saxons they flew more than 
feven There was many a mo- 
ther fliedding tears. The fong is due to 
thee who hall attained the higheft 
glory : thou who wail like fire, thunder 
and llorm : O Rudd Fcdell, warlike 
champion, excellent in might, you ftill 
think of the war. The noble chiefs 
deferve to be celebrated in verfc, who 
after the fight made the rivers to over- 
flow their banks with blood. Their 
hands glutted the throats of the dark- 
brown eagles, and flcilfully prepared food 
for the ravenous birds. Of all the chiefs 
who went to Cattraeth with golden 
chains," &c. This poem h extremely 

difficult to be underftood, being written, if 
not in the Piftifli language, at leaft in a 
dialeft of the Britons very different from 
the modern Welfli. See the learned and 
ingenious Mr. Evans's Dissertatio Ds 
Bardis, p. 68.-75. 

■■ Evans, ubi fupr. Pref. p. iv. 
" The Arabians call the Fairies Giftft, 
and the Perfians Peri. The former calls 
Fairy-land Ginnijlian, many beautiful ci- 
ties of which they have defcribed in their 
fabulous hiftories. See Herbelot. Bibl. 
Orient. Gian. p. 306. a. Genn. p. 375. 
a. Peri. p. 701. b. They pretend that 
the fairies built the city of Efthekar, or 
Perfepolis. Id. in. V. p. 327. a. One of 
the moll eminent of the oriental fairies was 
Mercian Peri, or Mergian the Fairy. 
Herbel. ut fupr. V. Peri. p. 702. a. Tha- 
hamurath, p. 1017. a. This was a 
good fairy, and imprifoned for ages in a 
cavern by the giant Demrufch, from which 
flie was delivered by Thahamurath, whom 
ftie afterwards aflilled in conquering ano- 
ther giant, his enemy. Id. ibid. And 
this is the fairy or elfin queen, called ia 
the French romances MoR gain le Fay, 
Morgain the fairy, who preferved kingAr- 
thur. See Obf. on Spenfer's Fairy Queen, 
i. 63. 65. §. ii, 



is found in the compofitions of the Welfh bards only, who 
flourillied after the native vein of Britifh fabling had been 
tinctured by thefe fairy tales, which the Arabians had 
propagated in Armorica, and which the Welfh had received 
from their connexion with that province of GauL Such a 
fi6lion as this is entirely different from the cafl and com- 
pletion of the ideas of the original Welfh poets. It is eafy 
to £olle6t from the Welfh odes, written after the tenth 
century, many fignatures of this exotic imagery. Such as, 
Their affault was like flrong lions. He is valourous as a 
lion, who can refifl his lance? The dragon of Mona's 
fons were fo brave in fight, that there v/as horrible con- 
** flernation, and upon Tal Moelvre a thoufand banners. 
Our lion has brought to Trallwng three armies. A dragon 
he was from the beginning, unterrified in battle. A dragon 
" of Ovain. Thou art a prince firm in battle, like an 
elephant. Their affault was as of flrong lions. The lion 
of Cemais fierce in the onfet, when the army ruflieth to 
be covered with red. He faw Llewellyn like a burning 
■<* dragon in the flrife of Arfon. He is furious in fight like 
an outrageous dragon. Like the roaring of a furious lion, 
in the fearch of prey, is thy thirfl of praife." Inftead of 
producing more proofs from the multitude that might be 
mentioned, for the fake of illuftration of our argument, I 
will contrafl thefe with fome of their natural unadulterated 
thoughts. " Fetoh the drinking horn, whofe glofs is like the 
•** wave of the fea. Tudor is like a wolf ruihing on his 
** prey. They were all covered with blood when they re- 
" turned, and the high hills and the dales enjoyed the fun 
*' equally '. O thou virgin, that fhinefl like tlie fnow on 
" the brows of Aran ": like the fine fpiders webs on the 
"** grafs on a fummer's day. The army at Offa's dike panted 

* The high, -mountains in Merioneth- and extremely natural in fo mountainous a 
thire. country as Wales. This circumftance of 

« A beautiful periphrafis for noon day, time added to the merit of the adion. 






for glory, the foldiers of Venedotia, and the men of Lon- 
don, were as the alternate motion of the waves on the fea- 
fliore, where the fea-mew fcreams. The hovering crows 
were numberlefs : the ravens croaked, they were ready to 
fuck the proftrate carcafes. His enemies are fcattered as 
leaves on the fide of hills driven by hurricanes. He is a 
" warrior, like a furge on the beach that covers the wild 
" falmons. Her eye was piercing like that of the hawk "*■•. 
" her face fUone like the pearly dew on Eryri ". Llewellyn 
" is a hero who fetteth caftles on fire. I have watched all 
*' night on the beach, where the fea-guUs, whofe plumes 
" glitter, fport on the bed of billows j and where the herbage, 
*' growing in a folitary place, is of a deep green ^" Thefe 
images are all drawn from their own country, from their 
fituation and circumftances ; and, although highly poetical, 
are in general of a more fober and temperate colouring. In 
a word, not only that elevation of allufion, which many 
fuppofe to be peculiar to the poetry of Wales, but that 
fertility of fi6lion, and thofe marvellous fables recorded in 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, which the generality of readers, who 
do not fufficiently attend to the origin of that hillorian's ro- 
mantic materials, believe to be the genuine offspring of the 
Welfh poets, are of foreign growth. And, to return to the 
ground of this argument, there is the flrongeft reafon to 
fufpe61:, that even the Gothic Edda, or fyftem of poetic 
mythology of the northern nations, is enriched with thofe 
higher flrokes of oriental imagination, which the Arabians 
had communicated to the Europeans. Into this extravagant 
tiffue of unmeaning allegory, falfe philofophy, and falfe 
theology, it was eafy to incorporate their moil wild and 
romantic conceptions ^. 

^ See infr. Sect. xiii. p. 380. Compare Aneurin's ode, cited above. 

* Mountains of fnow, irom Eiry, fnow. ^ Huet is of opinion, that the Edda is 

y See Evans, ubi fupr. p. 8. 10. 11. entirely the produftion of Snorro's fancy. 

15. 16. 21. 22. 23. 2'j. 28. 34. 37. 39. But this is faying too much. See Orig. 

40. 41. 42. And his Difl'. de Bard. p. 84. Roman, p. 116. The firft Edda was com- 


It muft be confefTed, that the ideas of chivalry, the appen- 
dage and the fubjeft of romance, fubfifted among the Goths. 
But this muft be underftood under certain limitations. 
There is no peculiarity which more ftrongly difcriminates 
the manners of the Greeks and Romans from thofe of 
modern times, than that fmall degree of attention and re- 
fpeft with which thofe nations treated the fair fex, and that 
inconfiderable fliare which they were permitted to take iu 
converfation, and the general commerce of life. For the 
truth of this obfervation, we need only appeal to the claffic 
writers : in which their women appear to have been devoted 
to a ftate of feclufion and obfcurity. One is furprifed that 
barbarians fliould be greater mafters of complaifance than 
the moft polifhed people that ever exifted. No fooner was 
the Roman empire overthrown, and the Goths had over- 
powered Europe, than we find the female chara61er afliiming 
an unufual importance and authority, and diftinguiflied with 
new privileges, in all the European governments eftabliflied 
by the northern conquerors. Even amidft the confufions of 
favage war, and among the almoft incredible enormities 
committed by the Goths at their invafion of the empire, 
they forbore to offer any violence to the women. This 
perhaps is one of the moft ftriking features in the new ftate 
of manners, which took place about the feventh century : 
and it is to this period, and to this people, that we muft refer 
the origin of gallantry in Europe. The Romans never intro- 
duced thefe fentiments into their European provinces. 

piled, undoubtedly with many additions 
and interpolations, from fidtions and tra- 
ditions in the old Runic poems, by Soe- 
mund Sigfuflbn, fumamed the Learned, 
about the year 1057. He feems to have 
made it his bufmefs to felecl or digeft into 
one body fuch of thefe pieces as were beft 
calculated to furnifh a colleftion of poetic 
phrafes and figures. He ftudied in Ger- 
many, and chiefly at Cologne. This firft 
Edda, being not only prolix, but perplexed 
and obfcure, a fecond, which is that now 

Vol. I. i 

extant, was compiled by Snorro Sturlefon, 
born in the year 1 179. 

It is certain, and very obfervable, 
that in the Edda we find much more of 
giants, dragons, and other imaginary be- 
ings, undoubtedly belonging to Arabian 
romance, then in the earlier Scaldic odes. 
By the way, there are many ftrokes in both 
the Eddas taken from the Revelations 
of Saint John, which muft come from the 
compilers who were Chriilians. 




The Goths beUeved fome divine and prophetic quality to be 
inherent in their women j they admitted them into their coun- 
cils, and confulted them on the public bufmefs of the ftate. 
They were fufFered to condu6l the great events which they 
pfedi<5ted. Ganna, a prophetic virgin of the Marcomanni, 
a German or Gaulifh tribe, was fent by her nation to Rome, 
and admitted into the prefence of Domitian, to treat con- 
cerning terms of peace ^. Tacitus ' relates, that Veiled a, 
another German prophetefs, held frequent conferences with 
the Roman generals ; and that on fome occafions, pn account 
of the facrednefs of her perfon, fhe was placed at a great 
diftance on a high tower, from whence, like an oracular 
divinity, fhe conveyed her anfwers by fome chofen meflTenger "'. 
She appears to have preferved the fupreme rule over her own 
people and the neighbouring tribes \ And there are other 
inflances, that the government among the antient Germans 
was fometimes vcfted in the women ". This praftice alfo 
prevailed among the Sitones or Norwegians ^ The Cimbri, 
a Scandinavian tribe, were accompanied at their afiemblies by 
venerable and hoary-headed prophetelTes, apparelled in long 
linen veftments of a fplendid white ^ Their matrons and 
daughters acquired a reverence from their fkill in ftudying 
fimples, and their knowledge of healing wounds, arts reputed 
myfterious. The wives frequently attended their hufbands in 
the moft perilous expeditions, and fought with great intre- 
pidity in the moil bloody engagements \ Thefe nations dreaded 

y Dio. lib. Ixvii. p. 761. 
^ Hlft. lib. iv. P9J3. edit. D'Orlean. fol. 

^ He fays jull before, " ea virgo /ate 
" imperitahat." Ibid. p. 951. He law her 
in the reign of Vefpafian. De Morib. Ger- 
man, p. 972. Where he likewife men- 
tions Aurinia. 

^ See Tacit. Hift. lib. v. p. 969. ut fupr. 

' De Morib. German, p. 983. ut fupr. 

*' Strab. Geograph. lib. viii. p. 205. 
edit. If. Caf 1587. fol. Compare Keyfler, 
Antiquit. Sel, Septentrional, p. 371. viz. 

DissERTATio de Mulieribus Fatidicis 
veterumCeltarum gentiumque Septentriona- 
lium. See alfo Cluverius's Germania 
Antiqua, lib. i. cap. xxiv. pag. 165. 
edit. fol. Lugd. Bat. 1631. It were eaiy 
to trace the Weird fillers, and our modern 
witches, to this fource. 

*= See Sect. vii. infr. p, 254. Diodorus 
Siculus fays, that among the Scythians the 
women are trained to war as well as the 
men, to whom they are not inferior in 
Ilrength and courage. L. ii. p. 90. 



captivity, more on the account of their women, than on their 
own : and the Romans, availing themfelves of this appre- 
henfion, often demanded their nobleft virgins for hoftages ^ 
From thefe circumftances, the women even claimed a fort of 
precedence, at leafl an equality fubfifled between the fexes, 
in the Gothic conftitutions. 

But the deference paid to the fair fex, which produced the 
fpirit of gallantry, is chiefly to be fought forin thofe flrong 
and exaggerated ideas of female chaftity which prevailed 
among the northern nations. Hence the lover's devotion 
to his miftrefs was encreafed, his attentions to her fervice 
. multiplied, his affe6lion heightened, and his foUicitude ag- 
gravated, in proportion as the difficulty of obtaining her 
was enhanced : and the paffion of love acquired a degree of 
delicacy, when controlled by the principles of honour and 
purity. The higheft excellence of charafiler then known 
was a fuperiority in arms ; and that rival was mofl likely to 
gain his lady's regard, who was the bravell champion. Here 
we fee valour infpired by love. In the mean time, the fame 
heroic fpirit which was the fureft claim to the favour of the 
ladies, was often exerted in their prote6tion : a prote6lion 
much wanted in an age of rapine, of plunder, and piracy ; 
when the weaknefs of the fofter fex was expofed to conti- 
nual dangers and unexpefted attacks °. It is eafy to fup- 
pofe the officious emulation and ardour of many a gallant 
young warrior, preffing forward to be foremoil: in this ho- 
nourable fervice, which flattered the mofl: agreeable of all 
paffions, and which gratified every enthufiafm of the times, 

' Tacit, de Morib. Germ. pag. 972. ut other rich prefents, an inefiimable horn, 

fupr. on which were inlaid in gold the images 

£ See inftances of this fort of violence of Odin, Thor, and Freya : and to the 

in the antient History of Hialmar, a other, named Hramur, the lady herfelf, and 

Runic romance, p. 135. 136. 140. DifT. a drum, emboffi;d with golden imagery, 

Epift. Ad calc. Hickef. Thefaur. vol. i. which foretold future events. This piece. 

Where alfo is a challenge between two v.'hich is in Runic capital charadlers, was 

champions for king Hialmar's daughter. written before the year 1000. Many ftc- 

But the king compofes the quarrel by giv- ries of this kind might be produced from 

ing to one of them, named Ulfo, among the northern chronicles. 

i 2 efpeciaily 


efpeclally the fafhionable fondnefs for a wandering and mili- 
tary life. In the mean time, we may conceive the lady thus 
won, or thus defended, confcious of her own importance, 
afFe6ling an air of flatelinefs : it was her pride to have pre- 
ferved her chaftity inviolate, fhe could perceive no merit but 
that of invincible bravery, and could only be approached 
in terms of refpedl and fubmillion. 

Among the Scandinavians, a people fo fond of cloathing 
adventures in verfe, thefe gallantries muft naturally become 
the fubje6l of poetry, with its fiftitious embellifhments. 
Accordingly, we find their chivalry difplayed in their odes. ; 
pieces, which at the fame time greatly confirm thefe obfer- 
vatioris. The famous ode of Regner Lodbrog, affords a 
flriking inflance j in which, being imprifoned in a loath- 
fome dungeon, and condemned to be deftroyed by venomous 
ferpents, he folaces his defperate fituation by recoUefting 
and reciting the glorious exploits of his pad life. One of 
thefe, and the firfl which he commemorates, was an at- 
chievement of chivalry. It was the delivery of a beautifuL 
Swedifh princefs from an impregnable fortrefs, in which flie 
was forcibly detained by one of her father's captains. Her 
father ifTued a proclamation, promifuig that whoever would 
refcue the lady, fhould have her in marriage. Regner fuc^ 
ceeded in the attempt, and married the fair captive. This 
was about the year 860 \ There are other flrokes in Reg- 
ner's ode, which, although not belonging to this particular 
ftory, deferve to be pointed out here, as illuflrative of our 
argument. Such as, " It was like being placed near a beau- 
*' tiful virgin on a couch.— It was like kifling a young widow 
" in the firft feat at a feaft. I made to ftruggle in the 
" tv^ilight that golden-haired chief, who pafTed his mornings 
*' among the yovmg maidens, and loved to converfe with 

*• See Torf. Hift. Norw. tom. i. lib. lo. Aflauga is the forgery of a much later age* 

Saxo Gram mat. p. 152. And Ol. Worm. See Regnara Lodbrog's Saga. C. <;. 

Lit. Rom. p. 221. edit. 46. I fufpeft that apud Biorneri Hiftor. Reg. Her. et Pugil. 

the romantic amour between Regner and Res. prseclar. geft. Stockholm. 1737- 

" widows. 


«* widows. — He who afpires to the love of young vh'glns,' 
" ought always to be foremofl in the din of arms '." It is 
worthy of remark, that thefe fentiments occur to Regner 
while he is in the midft of his tortures, and at the point of 
death. Thus many of the heroes in FroifTart, in the greateft 
extremities of danger, recoUeft their amours, and die think- 
ing of their miftrefies. And by the way, in the fame flrain. 
Boh, a Danifh champion, having loft his chin, and one of his 
cheeks, by a fmgle ftroke from Thurftain Midlang, only re- 
ilefted how he fhould be received, when thus maimed and 
disfigured, by the Danifn girls. He inftantly exclaimed in a 
tone of favage gallantry, " The Danifh virgins will not now 
" willingly or eafily give me kifles, if I Ihould perhaps return 
" home ''." But there is an ode, in the Knytlinga-Saga,, 
written by Harald the Valiant, which is profefledly a fong. 
of chivalry; and which, exclufive of its wild fpirit of ad- 
venture, and its images of favage life, has the romantic air 
of a fet of ftanzas, compofed by a Provencial troubadoun. 
Harald, appears to have been one of the moft eminent ad- 
venturers of his age. He had killed the king of Drontheim 
in a bloody engagement. He had traverfed all the feas, and 
vifited all the coafts, of the north; and had carried his pira- 
tical enterprifes even as far as the Mediterranean, and the 
Ihores of Africa. He was at length taken prifoner, and de- 
tained for feme time at Conftantinople. He complains in. 
this ode, that the reputation he had acquired by fo many 
hazardous exploits, by his fkill in fingle combat, riding, 
fwimming, gliding along the ice, darting, rowing, and 
guiding a fhip through the rocks, had not been able to 
make any impreffion on Eliffiff, or Elifabeth, the beautiful 
daughter of Jarilas, king of Rufiia \ 

Here, however, chivalry fubfifted but in its rudiments. 
Under the feudal eftablifhments, which were foon afterwards 
ere6led in Europe, it received new vigour, and was inverted 

* St.. 13. 14. 19.23. ^ Chron. Norveg. p. 136. 1 Bartholin, p. 54. 



with the formalities of a regular inftitution. The natvirq 
and circumftances of that peculiar model of government, were 
highly favourable to this ftrange fpirit of fantaftic heroifm ; 
which, however unmeaning and ridiculous it may feem, had 
the moft ferious and falutary confequences in affifting the gene- 
ral growth of refinement, and the progreffion of civilifation, in 
forming the manners of Europe, in inculcating the prin- 
ciples of honour, and in teaching modes of decorum. The 
genius of the feudal policy was perfe6i:ly martial. A nu- 
merous nobility, formed into feparate principalities, affedling 
independence, and mutually jealous of their privileges and 
honours, neceffarily lived in a ftate of hoftility. This fitua- 
tion rendered perfonal ftrength and courage the moft requi- 
fite and eilential accomplifhments. And hence, even in time 
of peace, they had no conception of any diverfions or public 
ceremonies, but fuch as were of the military kind. Yet, as 
the courts of thefe petty princes were thronged with ladies 
of the moft eminent diftinftion and quality, the ruling 
paffion for war was tempered with courtefy. The prize of 
contending champions was adjudged by the ladies ; who did 
not think it inconfiftent to be prefent or to prefide at the 
bloody fpedtacles of the times j and who, themfelves, feem 
to have contradled an unnatural and unbecoming ferocity, 
while they foftened the manners of thofe valorous knights 
who fought for their approbation. The high notions of a 
noble defcent, which arofe from the condition of the feudal 
conftitution, and the ambition of forming an alliance with 
powerful and opulent families, cheriflied this romantic 
fyftem. It was hard to obtain the fair feudatary, who was 
the objeft of univerfal adoration. Not only the fplendor of 
birth, but the magnificent caftle furrounded with embattelled 
walls, guarded with mafly towers, and crowned with lofty 
pinnacles, ferved to inflame the imagination, and to create 
an attachment to fome illuftrious heircfs, whofe point of 
honour it was to be chafte and inacceflible. And the diffi- 


culty of fuccefs on tliefe occafions, feems in great meafure 
to have given rife to that fentimental love of romance, 
which acquiefced in a diflant refpe6lful admiration, and 
did not afpire to pofTeffion. The w^ant of an uniform 
adminiflration of juilice, the general diforder, and ftate 
of univerfal anarchy, which naturally fprung from the 
principles of the feudal poUcy, prefented perpetual oppor- 
tunities of checking the oppreffions of arbitrary lords, of 
delivering captives injurioufly detained in the baronial caftles, 
of punifhing robbers, of fuccouring the diftrelfed, and of 
avenging the impotent and the unarmed, who were every 
moment expofed to the moft licentious infults and injuries.. 
The violence and injuftice of the times gave birth to valour 
and humanity. Thefe a6ls conferred a luftre and an im- 
portance on the character of men profelTing arms, who 
made force the fubftitute of law. In the mean time, the 
crufades, fo pregnant with enterprize, heightened the habits 
of this v^farlike fanaticifm. And when thefe foreign expedi~ 
tions were ended, in which the hermits and pilgrims of 
Paleiline had been defended, nothing remained to employ 
the a6tivity of adventurers but the prote6lion of innocence 
at home. Chivalry by degrees v/as confecrated by religion, 
whofe authority tin6lured every paffion, and was engrafted^ 
into every inftitution, of the fuperftitious ages ; and at length 
compofed that fuigular pi6lure of manners, in which the 
love of a god and of the ladies were reconciled, the faint 
and the hero were blended, and charity and revenge, zeal 
and gallantry, devotion and valour, were united., 

Thofe who think that chivalry ftarted late, from the na-- 
ture of the feudal conftitution, confound an improved effeft 
with a'fimple caufe. Not having diftin6lly confidered all 
the particularities belonging to the genius, manners, and 
ufages of the Gothic tribes, and accuftomed to contemplate 
nations under the general idea of barbarians, they cannot 
look for the feeds of elegance amongft men, di fling uiflied 



only for their ignorance and their inhumanity. The rude 
origin of this heroic gallantry was quickly overwhelmed 
and extinguifhed, by the fuperior pomp which it neceflarily 
adopted from the gradual diffufion of opulence and civility, 
and that blaze of fplendor with which it was furrounded, 
amid the magnificence of the feudal folemnities. But above 
all, it was lofl and forgotten in that higher degree of embel- 
liihment, which at length it began to receive from the repre- 
fentations of romance. 

From the foregoing obfervations taken together, the 
following general and comprehenfive conclufion feems to. 

Amid the gloom of fuperflition, in an age of the grolTefl 
ignorance and credulity, a talle for the wonders of oriental 
fi<5lion was introduced by the Arabians into Europe, many 
countries of which were already feafoned to a reception of 
its extravagancies, by means of the poetry of the Gothic 
fcalds, who perhaps originally derived their ideas from the 
fame fruitful region of invention. Thefe fi6lions, coinciding 
with the reigning manners, and perpetually kept up and 
improved in the tales of troubadours and minflrels, feem to 
have centered about the eleventh century in the ideal hiflories 
of Turpin and Geoffrey of Monmouth, which record the 
fuppofititious atchievements of Charlemagne and king Arthur, 
where they formed the ground-work of that fpecies of 
fabulous narrative called romance. And from thefe be- 
ginnings or caufes, afterwards enlarged and enriched by 
kindred fancies fetched from the crufades, that fmgular and 
capricious mode of imagination arofe, which at length 
compofed the marvellous machineries of the more fublime 
Italian poets, and of their difciple Spenfer. 




Q F 



TH E irruption of the northern nations into the 
weflern empire, about the beginning of the fourth 
century, forms one of the moft interesting and im- 
portant periods of modern hiftory. Europe, on this great 
event, fuffered the moil memorable revolutions in its govern- 
ment and manners j and from the moft flourifhing ftate of 
peace and civility, became on a fudden, and for the fpace of 
two centuries, the theatre of the moft d*eplorable devaftation 
and diforder. But among the difafters introduced by thefe 
irrefiftible barbarians, the moft calamitous feems to have been 
the deftru6lion of thofe arts which the Romans ftill conti- 
nued fo fuccefsfully to cultivate in their capital, and which 
they had univerfally communicated to their conquered pro- 
vinces. Towards the clofe of the fifth century, very few 
traces of the Roman policy, jurifprudence, fciences, and li- 
Vol. I. a terature 



terature, remained. Some faint fparks of knowledge were 
kept alive in the monafteries ; and letters and the liberal arts 
were happily preferved from a total extin6lion during the 
confufions of the Gothic invaders, by that (lender degree of 
culture and protection which they received from the prelates 
of the church, and the religious communities. 

But notwithftanding the famous academy of Rome "" with 
other literary feminaries had been deftroyed by Alaric in the 
fourth century; yet Theodoric the fecond, king of the 
Oftrogoths, a pious and humane prince, reflored in fome 
degree the fludy of letters in that city, and encouraged the 
purfuits of thofe fcholars who furvived this great and general 
defolation of learning \ He adopted into his fervice Boe- 
thius, the moil: learned and almofl only Latin philofopher of 
that period. CalTiodorus, another eminent Roman fcholar, 
was Theodoric's grand fecretary : who retiring into a mo- 
naftery in Calabria, pafTed his old age in colle6ting books, 
and pra6lifmg mechanical experiments ^ He was the author 
of many valuable pieces which flill remain \ He wrote with 
little elegance, but he was the firil that ever digefted a feries 
of royal charts or inftruments ; a monument of fingular 
utility to the hiflorian, and which has ferved to throw the 

» Thcodofius the younger, in the 
year 425, founded an academy at Con- 
ftantinople, which he furniflied with able 
profefTors of every fcience, intending it 
as a rival inftitution to that at Rome. 
Gianon, Hift. Napl. ii. ch. vi. feft. 1. A 
noble library had been ellabliftied at Con- 
ftantinoplc by Conftantius and Valens be- 
fore the year 380, the cuftody of which 
was committed to four Greek and three 
Latin antiquaries or curators. It contained 
futy thoufand volumes. Zonaras relates, 
that among other treafures in this library, 
there was a roll one hundred feet long, 
made of a dragon's gutt or inteftine, on 
which Homer's Iliad and Odyfley were 
written in golden letters. See Bibl. Hiftor. 

Literar. Seleft. &c. lense, 1754. p. 164. 
feq. Literature flouriflied in the eaftern 
empire, while the vveftern was depopulated 
by the Goths ; and for many centuries af- 
terwards. The Turks deftroyed one hun- 
dred and twenty thoufand volumes, I fup- 
pofe in the imperial library, when they 
lacked Conftantinople in the year 1454. 
Hod.De GftiEc. Illustr. ii. 1. p. 192. 

'' He died A. D. 526. See Caffiodor. 
Epilt. lib. i. 39. See alfo Func. de fii- 
erti et decrep. Latin. Linguae Seneftut. 
cap. ii. p. 81. 

•^ Func. ut fupr. xiii. p. 471. xi. p. 

^ Cave. Saecul. Eutych. Hift. Lit. p. 391. 



moft authentic illuftration on the public tranfadions and 
legal conftitutions of thofe times. Theodoric's patronage of 
learning is applauded by Claudian, and Sidonius ApoUinaris. 
Many other Gothic kings were equally attached to the works 
of peace ; and are not lefs confpicuous for their juftice, pru- 
dence, and temperance, than for their fortitude and magna- 
nimity. Some of them were diligent in colle6ling the fcat- 
tered remains of the Roman inftitutes, and conftru6ling a 
regular code of jurifprudence ^ It is highly probable, that 
thofe Goths who became mafters of Rome, fooner acquired 
ideas of civility, from the opportunity which that city above 
all others afforded them of feeing the felicities of poliflied 
life, of obferving the conveniencies arifmg from political 
economy, of mixing with characters refpe6lable for prudence 
and learning, and of employing in their counfels men of fupe- 
rior wifdom, whofe inftruftion and advice they found it their 
intereft to follow. But perhaps thefe northern adventurers, 
at leaft their princes and leaders, were not even at their firfl 
migrations into the fouth, fo totally favage and unclvilifed 
as we are commonly apt to fuppofe. Their enemies have 
been their hiftorians, who naturally painted thefe violent 
diflurbers of the general repofe in the warmeft colours. It 
is not eafy to conceive, that the fuccefs of their amazing en- 
terprizes was merely the efFe6l of numbers and tumultuary 
depredation : nor can I be perfuaded, that the lading and 
flourifliing governments which they eftabliflied in various 
parts of Europe, could have been framed by brutal force 
alone, and the blind efforts of unreflecting favages. Superior 
flrength and courage muft have contributed in a confider- 
able degree to their rapid and extenfive conquefts -, but at 
the fame time, fuch mighty atchievements could not have 
been planned and executed without fome extraordinary vigour 
of mind, uniform principles of condu(5l, and no common 
talents of political fagacity. 

'^ Gianon. Hift. Nap. iii. c. i. 

a 2 Although 


Although thefe commotions muft have been particularly 
unfavourable to the more elegant literature, yet Latin 
poetry, from a concurrence of caufes, had for fome time 
begun to relapfe into barbarifm. From the growing encreafe 
of chriftianity, it was deprived of its old fabulous embel- 
Mfhments, and chiefly employed in compoiing ecclefiaftical 
hymns. Amid thefe impediments however, and the neceflary 
degeneration of tafle and ftyle, a few poets fupported the 
chara6ler of the Roman mufe with tolerable dignity, during 
the decline of the Roman empire. Thefe were Aufonius, 
Paulinus, Sidonius, Sedulius, Arator, Juvencus, Profper, 
and Fortunatus. With the laft, who flouriftied at the be- 
ginning of the fixth century, and was bilhop of Poitiers, the 
Roman poetry is fuppofed to have expired. 

In the fixth century Europe began to recover fome degree 
of tranquillity. Many barbarous countries during this pe- 
riod, particularly the inhabitants of Germany, of Friefland, 
and other northern nations, were converted to tlie chriflian 
faith '. The religious controverfies which at this time di- 
vided 4:he Greek and Latin churches, roufed the minds of 
men to literary enquiries. Thefe difputes in fome meafure 
called forth abilities which otherwife would have been un- 
known and unemployed ; and, together with the fubtleties 
of argumentation, infenfihly taught the graces of ftyle, and 
the habits of compofition. Many of the popes were perfons 
of diftinguifhed taleats, and promoted ufeful knowledge no 
lefs by example than authority. Political union was by 
degrees eftablifhed j and regular fyftems of government, 
which alone can enfure perfonal fecuriiy, arofe in the 
various provinces of Europe occupied by the Gothic tribes. 
The Saxons had taken polfefiion of Britain, the Franks be- 
came mafters of Gaul, the Huns of Pannonia, the Gotlis of 

* Cave. Ssecul. Monoth. p. ^o. 




Spfiln, and the Lombards of Italy. Hence leifure and re- 
pofe diffufed a mildnefs of manners, and introduced the 
arts of peace j and, awakening the human mind to a con- 
fcioufnefs of its powers, dire6ted its faculties to their proper 

In the mean time, no fmall obftru6tion to the propagation 
or rather revival of letters, was the paucity of valuable books. 
The libraries, particularly thofe of Italy, which abounded 
in numerous and ineilimable treajfures of literature, were 
every where deftroyed by the precipitate rage and undiftin- 
guifhing violence of the northern armies. Towards the 
^clofe of the feventh century, even in the papal library at 
B.ome, the number of books was fo inconfiderable, that pope 
Saint Martin requefted Sanftamand bifnop of Maeftricht, if 
poffible, to fupply this defe6t from the remoteft parts of Ger- 
many ^ In the year 855, Lupus, abbot of Ferrieres in 
France, fent two of his monks to pope Benedict the third, 
to beg a copy of Cicero de Oratore, and Qujntilian's 
Institutes \ and fome other books : " for, fays the abbot. 

* Concil. Tom. xv. pag. 285. edit, 
Paris, 1641. 

*" There are very early manufcrlpts of 
X^intilian's Inftitutes, as we ftiall fee be- 
low J and he appears to have been a favo- 
rite author with feme writers of the middle 
ages. He is quoted by John of Salifbury, 
a writer of the eleventh century. Polycrat. 
vii. 14. iii. 7. X. 1. &c. And by Vincent 
qF Beaavais, a writer of the thirteenth. 
Specul. Hift X. 1 1, ix. 125. His declama- 
tions are faid to have been abridged by our 
countryman Adelardus Bathonienfis, and 
dedicated to the bifhop of Bayeux, about 
the year II 30. See Catal. Bibl. Leidenf. 
.p. 381. A.D. 1716. Poggius Florentinus, 
an eminent reftorer of clafiical literature, 
fays, that in the year 1446, he found a 
much more corretit copy of Quintilian's 
Inftitutes than ha4 been yet feen in Italy, 
, almoft perifhing, at the bottom of a dark 
goegledied tower of the monaHery of faint 

Gall, in France, together with the three 
firft books, and half the fourth of Vale- 
rius Flaccus's Argonautics, and Afconius 
Pedianus's comment on eight orations of 
Tully. See Poggii Op. p. 309. Amft. 
1720. 8vo. The very copy of Quintilian, 
found by Poggius, is faid to have been in 
lord Sunderland's noble library now at 
Blenheim. Poggius, in his Dialogue De 
Infelicitate Principum, fays of himfelfj 
that he travelled all over Germany in fearch 
of books. It is certain that by his means 
Quintilian, Tertullian, Afconius Pedianus, 
Lucretius, Salluft, Silius italicus. Colu- 
mella, Manilius, TuUy's Orations, Am- 
mianus Marcellinu^, Valerius Flaccus, and 
fome of the Latin grammarians, and other 
antient authors, were recovered from ob- 
livion, and brought into general notice by 
being printed in the fifteenth century. F. 
Babarus Venetus, CoUaudat. ad Pogg. dat. 
.Venet. 1417. 7 Jul» See alio Cioreale 



" although we have part of thefe books, yet there is no 
" whole or complete copy of them in all France ' ". Albert 
abbot of Gemblours, who with incredible labour and immenfe 
expence had colle61:ed an hundred volumes on theological 
and fifty on profane fubjefts, imagined he had formed a 
fplendid library". About the year 790, Charlemagne granted 
an unlimited right of hunting to the abbot and monks 
of Sithiu, for making their gloves and girdles of the fkins 
of the deer they killed, and covers for their books '. We 
may imagine that thefe religious were more fond of hunting 
than reading. It is certain that they were obliged to hunt 
before they could read : and at leafl: it is probable, that 
under thefe circumftances, and of fuch materials, they did 
not manufa6lure many volumes. At the beginning of the 
tenth century books were fo fcarce in Spain, that one and 
the fame copy of the bible, Saint Jerom's Epiftles, and fome 
volumes of ecclefiaftical offices and martyrologies, often 
ferved feveral different monafleries ". Among the conftitu- 
tions given to the monks of England by archbifhop Lanfranc, 
in the year 1072, the following injun6lion occurs. At the 
beginning of Lent, the librarian is ordered to deliver a book 
to each of the religious : a whole year was allowed for the 
perufal of this book: and at the returning Lent, thofe monks 
who had negledled to read the books they had refpe6lively 
received, are commanded to proftrate themfelves before the 

</(? Letterati Alitalia, torn. ix. p, 178. X. 
p. 417. And Leonard. Aretin. Epift. 
lib. iv. p. 160. Chaucer mentions the 
Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus, as I have 
obferved, Sect. iii. p. 126. infr. Co- 
lomefius affirms, that Silius Italicus, is one 
of the daffies difcovered by Poggius in 
the tower of the raonaftery of Saint Gaul. 
Ad Gyrald. de Poet. Dial, iv, p. 240. But 
Philippe Rofib, in his Rittrato di Roma 
aniicay mentions a very antient manufcript 
of this poet brought from Spain into the 

Vatican, having a pidlure of Hannibal, // 
quale hvggi firitroua nella preditta librarian 
p. 83. 

^ Murator. Antiq. Ital. iii. p. 835. And 
Lup. Ep. ad Baron, ad an. 856. n. 8, 9. 

^ Fleury. Hift. Eccl. 1. Iviii. c. 52. 

J Mabillon. De Re Dipl. p. 611. 

■> Fleur)', ubi fupr. 1. liv. c. 54. See 
other inftances in Hift. Lit. Fr. par ReL 
Benedid. vii. 3. 




abbot, and to fupplicate his indulgence ". This regulation 
was partly occafioned by the low Hate of literature which 
Lanfranc found in the Englifli monafteries. But at the 
fame time it was a matter of neceflity, and is in great mea- 
fure to be referred to the fcarcity of copies of ufeful and 
fuitable authors. In an inventory of the goods of John de 
PontilTara, bifliop of Winchefler, contained in his capital 
palace of Wulvefey, all the books which appear are nothing 
more than " Sepfendecem pecie librorum de diverjts Sciejtciis °," 
This was in the year 1294. The fame prelate, in the year 
1299, borrows of his cathedral convent of St. Swithin at 
Winchefler, Bibliam bene glossatam, that is, the Bible^ 
with marginal Annotations, in two large folio volumes : but 
gives a bond for due return of the loan, drawn up with 
great folemnity ^ This Bible had been bequeathed to the 
convent the fame year by PontifTara's predeceilor, bifhop Ni- 
cholas de Ely ; and in confideration of fo important a bequeft, 
that is, *' pro bo7ia Btblia diSH epifcopi bene glofata^' and one 
hundred marks in money, the monks founded a daily mafs 
for the foul of the donor ''. When a hngle book was be- 

" " Unufquifque reddat librum qui ad 
** legendum fibi alio anno fuerat commen- 
•* datus : et qui cognoverat fe non legifTe 
** librum, quern recepit, proftratus culpam 
" dlcat, et indulgentiam petat. Iterum li- 
" brorum cuftos unicuique fratrum alium 
" librum tribuat ad legendum." Wilkinf. 
Concil, i. 332. See alfo the order of the 
Provincial chapter, De occupatione mona- 
chorum. Reyner, Append, p. 129. 

" Regiftr. PontifTar. f. 126. MS. 

P *' Omnibus Chrifti fidelibus prefentes 
** literas vifuris vel infpedluris, Johannes 
*' dei gracia Wynton epifcopus, falutem in 
** domino. Noveritis nos ex commodato 
*' recepiffe a dileftis liliis noftris Priore et 
'• conventu ecclefie noftre Wynton, unam 
** Bibliam in duobus voluminibus bene 
" glofatam, que aliquando fuit bone me- 
** morie domini Nicolai Wynton epifcopi 

*' predeceflbris noUri, termino perpetuo,, 
" feu quamdiu nobis placuerit, infpicien- 
" dam, tenendam, et habendam. Ad cujus 
" Reftitutionem eifdem iideliteretfine dolo 
•* faciendam, obligamus nos per prefentes: 
** quam fi in vita noftra non reltituerimus 
" eifdem, obligamus executores noftros, et 
" omnia bona noftra mobilia et immobilia, 
** ecclefiaftica et mundana, cohercioni ec 
" diftridioni cujufcunque judicis eccle- 
** fiaftici et fecularis quem predidlus Prior 
" et conventus duxerit eligendum, quod 
" poflint eofdem executores per omnimo- 
" dam diftriftionem compellere, quoufque 
** difta Biblia didlis filiis et fratribus fit 
" reftituta. In cujus rei teftimonium, figil- 
" lum, &c. Dat. apud Wulvefeye, vi. KaL 
" Maii, anno 1299." Regiftr. PontifTaT. 
ut fupr. f. 193. 
q Ibid. f. 19. 



queathed to a friend or relation, it was feldom without many 
reftri6tions and ftipulations '. If any perfon gave a book to 
a religious houfe, he believed that fo valuable a donation 
merited eternal falvation, and he offered it on the altar with 
great ceremony. The mofl formidable anathemas were pe- 
remptorily denounced againft thofe who fhould dare to 
alienate a book prefented to the cloifter or library of a reli- 
gious houfe. The prior and convent of Rochefter declare, 
that they will every year pronounce the irrevocable fentence 
of damnation on him who fhall purloin or conceal a Latin 
tranflation of Arillotle's Physics, or even obliterate the 
title \ Sometimes a book was given to a monaftery on con- 
dition that the donor fhould have the ufe of it during his 
life : and fometimes to a private perfon, with the refervation 
that he who receives it fliould pray for the foul of his 
benefadlor. The gift of a book to Lincoln cathedral, by 
bifliop Repingdon, in the year 1422, occurs in this form 
and under thefe curious circumftances. The memorial is 
v/ritten in Latin, with the bifhop's own hand, which I will 
give in Englifli, at the beginning of Peter's Breviary of 
THE Bible. " I Philip of Repyndon, late bifhop of Lin- 
" coin, give this book called Peter de Aureolis to the new 
library to be built within the church of Lincoln : referving 
the ufe and poffeffion of it to Richard Tryfely, clerk, 
canon and prebendary of Miltoun, in fee, and to the term 
of his life: and afterwards to be given up and reflored to 
the faid library, or the keepers of the fame, for the time 
being, faithfully and without delay. Written with my 
own hand, A. D. 1422'." When a book was bought, the 





' As thus : "Do Henrico Morie fcolnri Written at the end of Latin Homilies on 

" meo, fi ccntingat eum prefbyterari : ri>e Ca>iticles, MSS. Reg. 5. C. iii. 24. 

" aliter erit liber domini Johannis Sory, Biit. Muf. 
'* fic quod non vendatur, fed tranfeat inter ^ vr«;Q R C " 

" cognatos meos, fi fuerint aliqui inventi : ^'■^^' ^^^' ^^ ^' "* 

** fin autem, ab uno prePoytero ad alium." « MSS. Reg. 8 G.. fol. iii, Brit. Muf. 



affair was of fo much importance, that it was cuftomary to 
allemble perfons of confequence and character, and to make 
a formal record that they were prefent on this occafion. 
Among the royal manufcripts, in the book of the Sentences 
of Peter Lombard, an archdeacon of Lincoln has left this 
entry". " This book of the Sentences belongs to mafter 
*' Robert, archdeacon of Lincoln, which he bought of Geof- 
*' frey the chaplain, brother of Henry vicar of Northel- 
*' kington, in the prefence of mailer Robert de Lee, mafter 
" John of Lirling, Richard of Luda, clerk, Richard the al- 
*' moner, the faid Henry the vicar and his clerk, and others : 
*' and the faid archdeacon gave the faid book to God and 
" faint Ofwald, and to Peter abbot of Barton, and the con- 
" vent of Barden"^." The difputed property of a book often 
occafioned the moft violent altercations. Many claims ap- 
pear to have been made to a manufcript of Matthew Paris, 
belonging to the laft-mentioned library : in which John 
Ruffell, biiliop of Lincoln, thus conditionally defends or 
explains his right of pOxTeffion. " If this book can be proved 
" to be or to have been the property of the exempt monaftery 
** of faint Alban in the diocefe of Lincoln, I declare this to 
be my mind, that, in that cafe, I ufe it at prefent as a 
loan under favour of thofe monks who belong to the 
faid monaftery. Otherwife, according to the condition 
under which this book came into my poffeflion, I will 
that it fhall belong to the college of the bleiTed Win- 
" chefter Mary at Oxford, of the foundation of William 
Wykham. Written with my own hand at Bukdane, 
I Jan. A.D. 1488. Jo. Lincoln. Whoever ftiall obliterate 
or deftroy this writing, let him be anathema "." About 

" It is in Latin. written by Matthew Paris in his own hand, 

*" 9 B. ix. 1. HuNc Librum dedit frater Matthaeus Pa- 

" Written in Latin. Cod. MSS. Reg. rifienjis — Perhaps, deo et ecckjite S. Albani, 

14 C. viii. 2. fol. In this manufcript is fmce erafed. 

Vol. L b the 








the year 1225, Roger de Infula, dean of York, gave feveral 
Latin bibles to the univerfity of Oxford, with a condi- 
tion that the ftudents who perufed them fhould depofit a 
cautionary pledge ^. The library of that univerfity, before 
the year 1300, confided only of a few tra6ls, chained or 
kept in chefls in the choir of St. Mary's church ^ In the 
year 1327, the fcholars and citizens of Oxford afTaulted 
and entirely pillaged the opulent Benedictine abbey of the 
neighbouring town of Abingdon. Among the books they 
found there, were one hundred pfalters, as many grayles, 
and forty mifTals, which undoubtedly belonged to the choir 
of the church : but belides thefe, there were only twenty- 
two CODICES, which I interpret books on common fubjeCls \ 

y Wood, Hill. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. li. 
48. col. I . It was conimon to lend money 
on the depofit of a book. There were 
public chelts in the univerfities, and per- 
haps fome other places, for receiving the 
books fo depofitcd ; many of which ftill 
remain, with an infertion in the blank 
pages, containing the conditions of the 
pledge. I will throw together a few in- 
ftances in this note. In Peter Comeftor's 


•' Thom^e Wybaurn excepta in Cilia de 
** Chichele, A. D. 1468, 20 die menf. 
*' Augufti. Et eft liber M. Petri, &c. 
" Et jacet pro xxvl/. viiii^." Muf. Brit. 
MSS. Reg. 2 C, fol. i. In a Psalter 
cum gloffa, " A. D. 1326, Ifte Liber im- 
" pignoratur Mag. Jacobo de Ifpania ca- 
" nonico S. Pauli London, per fratrem 
" Willlelmum de Rokefle de ordine et con- 
*' ventu Priedicatorum Londonie, pro xxs. 
" quern idem frater Willielmus recepit mu- 
" tuo de predifto Jacobo ad opus predidi 
" conventus, folvendos in quindena S. Mi- 
*' chaelis proxime Ventura. Condonatur quia 
" pauper." ibid. 3 E vii. fol. In Bernard's 
HoMELiEs ON THE Canticles, " Cau- 
** tio Thome Myllyng impofita cifte de 
" Rodbury, 10 die Decerab. A. D. 1491. 
" Et jacet pro xx^." Ibid. 6 C. ix. Thefe 
pledges, among other particulars, Ihew the 

prices of books in the middle ages, a topic 
which I fhall touch upon below. 

^ Regiftr. Univ. Oxon. C. 64. a. 

» Wood, Hift. ut fupr. i. 163. col. i. 
Leland. mentions this library, but it is juft 
before the difTolution of the monaftery. 
*' Cum excuterem pulverem et blattas Ab- 
'* bandunenfis bibliothecas." Script. Brit, 
p. 238. See alfo J. Tv/yne, Comm. de 
Reb, Alblonic. lib. ii. p. 130. edit. Lond. 
1590. I have mentioned the libraries of 
many monafteries below. See alfo what is 
faid of the libraries of the Mendicant Friars, 
SECT.ix. p. 292. infr. That of Grey Friars 
in London was filled with books at the cofl 
of five hundred and fifty-fix pounds in 
the year 1432- Leland. Coll. i. 109. In 
the year 1482, the library of the abbey 
of Leicefter contained eight large ftalls 
which were filled with books. Gul. Charyte, 
Regiftr. Libr. et Jocal. omnium in monaft. 
S. Mar. de pratis prope Leccitriam. MSS. 
Bibl. Bodl. Laud. I. 75. fol. membr. See 
f. 139. There is an account of the library 
of Dover priory, MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Arch. 
B. 24. Leland fays, that the library of 
Norwich priory was '* bonis refertiffima 
" libris." Script. Brit. p. 247. See alfo 
Leland's account of St. Auftin's libraiy at 
Canterbury, ibid. p. 299. Concerning 
which, compare Liber Thuma Sprotti de 




And although the invention of paper, at the clofe of the 
eleventh century, contributed to multiply manufcripts, and 
confequently to facilitate knowledge, yet even fo late as the 
reign of our Henry the fixth, I have difcovered the following 
remarkable inflance of the inconveniencies and impediments 
to fludy, which muft have been produced by a fcarcity of 
books. It is in the ftatutes of St. Mary's college at Oxford, 
founded as a feminary to Ofeney abbey in the year 1446, 
" Let no fcholar occupy a book in the library above one 
" hour, or two hours at moft ; fo that others fhall be hin- 
" dered from the ufe of the fame " ". The famous library 
eftabliftied in the univeriity of Oxford, by that munificent 
patron of literature Humphrey duke of Gloucefter, contained 
only fix hundred volumes ^ About the commencement of 
the fourteenth century, there were only four claffics in the 
royal library at Paris. Thefe were one copy of Cicero, Ovid, 
Lucan, and Boethius. The reft were chiefly books of devo- 
tion, which included but few of the fathers : many treatifes 
of aftrology, geomxancy, chiromancy, and medecine, originally 
written in Arabic, and tranflated into Latin or French : 
pandefls, chronicles, and romances. This colle6i:ion was 
principally made by Charles the fith, who began his reign 

lihraria S. Augujlini Cantuarife, MSS. 
C. C. C.Oxon. 125. And Bibl. Cotton, 
Brit. Muf, Jul. C. vI. 4. And Leland, 
Coll. iii. 10. 120. Leland who was libra- 
rian to Henry the eighth, removed a large 
quantity of valuable manufcripts from St. 
Auftin's, Canterbury, and from other mo- 
nafteries at the diflblution, to that king's 
library at Weftminller. See Script. Brit. 
Ethelstanus. And MSS. Reg. i. A. 
xviii. For the fake of connedion I will 
obferve, that among our cathedral libraries 
of fecular canons, that of the church of 
Wells was moft magnificent : it was built 
about the year 1 420, and contained twen- 
ty-five windows on either fide. Leland, 
Coll. i. p. 109. In which ftate, I believe, 
it continues at prefent. Nor is it quite fo- 

reign to the fubje(5l of this note to add, 
that king Henry the fixth intended a li- 
brary at Eton college, fifty-two feet long, 
and twenty-four broad : and another at 
King's college in Cambridge of the fame 
breadth, but one hundred and two feet in 
length. Ex Teftam. dat. xii. Mar". 1447. 

'' *' Nullus occupet unum librum, vel 
" occupari faciat, ultra unam horam et 
" duas ad majus : fie quod cseteri retra- 
" hantur a vifu et ftudio ejufdem." Sta- 
tut. Coll. S. Marise pro Ofeney. De Li- 
BRARiA. f. 21. MSS. Rawlinf. Bibl. Bodl. 

= Wood, ubi fupr. ii. 49. col. ii. It 
was not opened till the year 1480. Ibid, 
p. 50. col. 1. 

b 2 



in 1365. This monarch was paflionately fond of reading, 
and it was the fafliion to fend him prefents of books from 
every part of the kingdom of France. Thefe he ordered to 
be elegantly tranfcribed, and richly illuminated; and he placed 
them in a tower of the Louvre, from thence called, la toure 
de la It br aire. The whole confifted of nine hundred volumes. 
They were depofited in three chambers -, which, on this oc- 
cafion, were wainfcotted with Irifli oak, and cicled v/ith 
cyprefs curioufly carved. The windows were of painted 
glafs, fenced with iron bars and copper wire. The Englifli 
became mafters of Paris in the year 1425. On which event, 
the duke of Bedford, regent of France, fent this whole li- 
brary, then conufting of only eight hundred and fifty-three 
volumes, and valued at two thoufand two hundred and twenty- 
three livres, into England ; where perhaps they became the . 
ground- work of duke Humphrey's library juft mentioned % 
Even fo late as the year 1471, when Louis the eleventh 
of France borrowed the works of the Arabian phyfician- 
Rhafis, from the faculty of medicine at Paris, he not only 
depofited by way of pledge a quantity of valuable plate, but 
Was obliged to procure a nobleman to join with him as 
furety in a deed \ by which he bound himfelf to return it 
under a confiderable forfeiture ^ The exceffive prices of 
books in the middle ages, afford numerous and curious 
proofs. I will mention a few only. In the year 1.174, Wal- 
ter, prior of St. Swithin's at Winchefter, afterwards ele61:ed 
abbot of Weftminfter, a writer in Latin of the lives of the 
bifhops who were his patrons ^ purchafed of the monks of 

' See M. Boivin, Mem. Lit. u. p. 747. at large below, De moJo communicandi Jlu' 

4tG. Who fays, that the regent prefented dentibus lihros 7iojlros. cap. xix. 
to his hrother-in-law Humphrey duke of „ ti • r . ttwi /-.l » ir 1 • 

Gloucefter a rich copy of a traiflation of ' Robertfon's Hift. Charles V. vol. 1. 

Livy into French, which had been prefented P- 2« • • edit. 8vo. 
to the king of France. h William GiiFard and Henry de Blois» 

' See Bury's Philobiblon, mentioned bilhops of Winchefter. 




Dorchefler in Oxfordfliire, Bede's Homilies, and faint Auftin's 
Pfalter, for twelve meafures of barley, and a pall on which 
was embroidered in filver the hiftory of faint Birinus con- 
verting a Saxon king\ Among the royal manufcripts in 
the Britifli mufeum there is Comestor's Scholastic His- 
tory in French ; which, as it is recorded in a blank page 
at the beginning, was taken from the king of France at 
the battle '^f Poitiers 3 and being purchafed by William 
Montague earl of Salifbury for one hundred mars, was. 
ordered to be fold by the lad will of his countefs Elizabeth 
for forty livres'. About the year 1400, a copy of John 
of Meun's Ro-man de la Rose, was fold before the palace- 
gate at Paris for forty crowns or thirty-three pounds fix 
and fix-pence". But in purfuit of thefe anecdotes, I am 

^ Regiftr. Priorat. S. Swithin. Winton. 

ut fupr. MS. quatern. . . " Pro duodecim 

*' menf. (or mod.) ordei, et una palla 

" brufdata in argento cum hiftoria fanfti 

" Birini convertentis ad fidem Kynegylfum 

" regem Gewyfeorum : necnon Ofvvaldi 

•' regis Northumbranorum fufcipientis de 

" fonte Kynegylfum." Gewyfeorum is 

the Weft Saxons. This hiftory, with others 

of faint Birinus, is reprefented on the an- 

tientfont of Norman workmanlhip in Win- 

chefter cathedral : en the windows of the 

abbey-church of Dorchefter near Oxford : 

and in the weftern front and windows of 

Lincoln cathedral. With all which churches 

Birinus was connefted. He was buried in 

that of Dorcheller, Whart. Angl. Sacr. i. 

1 90. And in Bever's manufcript Chronicle, 

or his Continuator, cited below, it is 

faid, that a marble cenotaph of marvellous 

fculpture was conftrudled over his grave in 

Dorchefter church about the year 1320. I 

find no mention of this monument in any 

other writer. Bever. Chron. MSS. Coll. 

Trin. Oxon. Num. x. f. 66. 

' MSS. 19 D ii. La Bible Hysto- 
RiAus, ou Les Histories escolas- 
TRES. The tranfcript is of the fourteenth 
century. This is the entry, " Cell livre 

" fuft prift oue le roy de France a la ba- 
■" taille de Peyters : et le bon counte de Sa- 
" refbirs William Montagu la achata pur 
" cent mars, et le dona a fa compaigne 
" Elizabeth la bone counteffe, que dieux 
*' aflbile. — Le quele lyvre le dite countefle 
*' aliigna a fes executours de le rendre pur 
" xl. livres." 

^ It belonged to the late Mr. Ames, 
author of the Typographical Anti- 
quities. La a blank leaf was written, 
" Ccft lyvir coft a palas du Parys quarante 
*' corones d' or fans mentyr." 1 have ob- 
ferved in another place, that in the year 
1430, Nicholas de Lyra was tranfcribed at 
theexpenceofonehundred.marcs. SEcr.ix. 
p. 292. infr. I add here the valuation of 
books bequeathed to Merton college at 
Oxford, before the year 1300. A Scholaf- 
tical Hiftory, 20s. A Concordantia, loj-. 
The four greater Prophets, with gloftes, 
5/. Liber Anfelmi cum quaeftionibus Tho- 
mae de Malo, i 2 /. Quodlibetae H. Gan- 
davenfis et S. Thomas Aquinatis, 10 s. A 
Pfalter with gloftes, 10/. Saint Auftin on 
Genefis, lOs. MS. Hist, of Merton 

College, by 
Cod. Rawlinf. 
other in fiances. 

A. Wood. Bibl. Bodl. 

I could add a variety of 

The curious reader who 




impreceptibly feduced into later periods, or rather am 
deviating from my fubje6l. 

After the calamities which the flate of literature fuflained 
in confequence of the incurfions of the northern nations, 
the firft reflorers of the antient philofophical fciences in 
Europe, the ftudy of which, by opening the faculties and 
extending the viev/s of mankind, gradually led the way to 
other parts of learning, were the Arabians. In t!ie beginning 
of the eighth century, this wonderful people, equally fa- 
mous for their conquefts and their love of letters, in ravaging 
the Afiatic provinces, found many Greek books, which they 
read with infinite avidity : and fuch was the gratification 
they received from this fortunate acquifition, and fo power- 
fully their curiofity was excited to make further difcoveries 
in this new field of knowledge, that they requefled their ca- 
liphs to procure from the emperor at Conftantinople the befl* 
Greek writers. Thefe they carefully tranflated into Arabic ". 
But every part of the Grecian literature did not equally 
gratify their tafte. The Greek poetry they rejeded, becauie 
it inculcated polytheifm and idolatry, which were inconfiftent 
with their religion. Or perhaps it was too cold and too 
corre6l for their extravagant and romantic conceptions '. 

feeks further information on this fmall yet 
not unentertaining branch of literary hif- 
tory, is referred to Gabr. Naud. Addit. 
a r Hift. de Louys xi. par Comijies. edit. 
Frefn. torn. iv. 281, &c. 

^ See Abulfarag. per Pocock, Dynaft. p. 
l6o. Greek was a familiar language to 
the Arabians. The accompts of the caliph's 
treafury were always written in Greek till 
the year of Chrift 715. They were then 
ordered to be drawn in Arabic. Many 
proofs of this might be mentioned. Greek 
was a familiar language in Mahomet's 
houftiold. Zaid, one of Mahomet's fecre- 
taries, to whom he dictated the Koran, was 
a perfeft mailer of Greek. Sale's Prelim. 
Difc. p. 1 44, 1 45. The Arabic gold coins 

were always infcribed with Greek legends 
till about the year 700. 

' Yet it appears from many of their fic- 
tions, that fome of the Greek poets were 
not unfamiliar among them, perhaps long 
before the period afhgned in the text. Theo- 
philus EdeiTenus, a Maronite, by profeifion 
on aftronomer, tranflated Homer into Syriac 
about the year 770. Theophan. Chronogr. 
p. 376. Abulfarag. ut fupr. p. 217. Rei- 
nefius, in his very curious account of the 
vianiifcript colledion of Greek chemijis in the 
library of Saxe-Gotha, relates, that foon 
after the year 750, the Arabians tranflated 
Homer and Pindar, amongft other Greek 
books. Erneft. Salom. Cyprian. Catal. 
Codd. MSS. Bibl. Gothan. p. 71. 87. 




Of the Greek hlflory they made no ufe, becaufe it recorded 
events which preceded their prophet Mahomet. Accuftomed 
to a defpotic empire, they negle6led the political fyftems of 
the Greeks, which taught republican freedom. For the 
fame reafons they defpifed the eloquence of the Athenian 
orators. The Greek ethics were fuperfeded by their Alcoran, 
and on this account they did not ftudy the works of Plato ". 
Therefore no other Greek books engaged their attention but 
thofe which treated of mathematical, metaphyseal, and phy- 
lical knowledge. Mathematics coincided with their natural 
turn to aftronomy and arithmetic. Metaphyfics, or logic, 
fuited their fpeculative genius, their love of tracing intricate 
and abftra6led truths, and their ambition of being admired 
for difficult and remote refearches. Phyfics, in which I in- 
clude medicine, afiifted the chemical experiments to which 
they were fo much addi6led " : and medicine, while it was 
connected wdth chemiftry and botany, was a practical art of 
immediate utility". Hence they fludied Ariftotle, Galen,. 

Apud Fabic. Bibl. Gr. xli. p. 753. It Is 
however certain, that the Greek philofo- 
phers were their objefts. Compare Eufeb. 
Renaudot. de Barb. Ariftotel. Verfionib. 
apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xii. p. 252. 258. 

■" Yet Reinefius fays, that about the year 
750, they tranflated Plato into Arabic : to- 
gether with the works of S. Auftin, Am- 
brofe, Jerom, Leo, and Gregory the Great. 
Ubi fupr. p. 260. Leo Africanus men- 
tions, among the works of Averroes,Exro- 


he died fo late as the year 1 206. De Med. 
et Philofoph. Arab. cap. xx. 

" The eailieft Arab chemift, whofe wri- 
tings are now extant, was Jeber. He is 
about the feventh century. His book, 
called by Golius his Latin tranflator, Lapis 
PhiloJ'ophorii?n,wn.% written firllin Greek, and 
afterwards tranflated by its author into Ara- 
bic. For Jeber was originally a Greek and 
£ Chriftian, and afterwards went into Afia, 
and embraced Mohammedifm. See Leo 
African, lib. iii. c. 106. The learned 
Eoexh^ave afl'erts, that many of Jeber's 

experiments are verified by prefent prac- 
tice, and that feveral of them have been re- 
vived as modern difcoveries. Boerhaave 
adds, that, except the fancies about the 
philofopher's ftone, the exaftnefs of jeber's 
operations is furpriling. Hill. Chemiftr. p. 
14. I 5. Lond. I 727. 

" Their learning, but efpecially their 
medical knowledge, flouriflied moft in Sa- 
lerno, a city of Italy, where it formed the 
famous Schcla Salernitana. The little 
book of medical precepts in leonine heroics, 
which bears the name of that fchool, is.. 
well known . This fyliem was compofed at 
the defire of Robert duke of Normandy, , 
William the Conqueror's brother : who ^ 
returning from jerufalem in one of the 
crufades, and having heard of the fame of ■ 
thofe Salernitan phyficians, applied to them 
for the cure of a wound made by a poifoned 
arrow. It was written not only in verfe, 
but in rhyming verfe, that the prince might 
more eafily retain the rules in his memory. 
It was publifiied 1 1 00. The author's name 
is Giovanni di Milano, a celebrated Sa- 



and Hippocrates, with unremitted ardour and afliduity : they 
tranilated their writings into the Arabic tongue'', and by 
degrees iiluflrated them with voluminous commentaries ^ 
Thefe Arabic tranllations of the Greek philofophers produced 
new treatifes of their own, particularly in medicine and me- 
taphyfics. They continued to extend their conquefts, and 
their frequent incurfions into Europe before and after the 
ninth century, and their abfolute eftabUlhment in Spain, 
imported the rudiments of ufeful knowledge into nations in- 
volved in the grofTeft ignorance, and unpoffefTed of the 

krnitan phyfician. The monks of Caffino 
hereafter mentioned, mnch improved this 
ftudy. See Chron. Caffin. 1. iii. c. 35. 
Medicine was at firft praftifed by the monks 
or the clergy, who adopted it with the 
reft of the Arabian learning. See P. Diac. 
De Vir. illullr. cap. xiii. et ibid. Not. 
Mar. See alfo Ah. De Nuce ad Chron. 
Caffin. 1. i. c. 9. And Leon. Oftienf. Chron. 
I. iii. c. 7. See Sect. xvii. p. 44.2. infr. 

P Compare Renaudot. ubi. fupr. p. 258. 

•3 Their caliph Al-Manun, was a Angu- 
lar encouragcr of thefe tranflations. He 
was a great mafter of the fpeculative fcien- 
ces ; and for his better information in 
them, invited learned men from all parts of 
the world to Bagdat. He favoured the 
learned of every religion : and in return 
they made him prefents of their works, 
collefted from the choiceft pieces of eaftem 
literature, wheCher of Indians, Jews, Ma- 
gians, or oriental chriftians. He expended 
immenfe fums in purchafing valuable books 
written in Hebrew, Syriac, and Greek, 
that they might be tranflated into Arabic. 
Many <jreek treatifes of medicine were 
tranil^ed into that language by his orders. 
He hired the moft learned perfons from all 
quarters of his vaft dominions to make thefe 
tranflations. Many celebrated aftonomers 
Piourifhed in his reign: and he was himfelf 
famed for his fkill in allronomy. This was 
about the year of Chrift 820. See Leo 
African, de Med. et Phil. Arab, cap, i. 
Al-Makin, p. 139, 140. Eutych. p. 434, 


A curious circumllance of the envy with 
which the Greeks at Conflant-incple treated 
this growing philofophy of the Arabians, 
is mentioned by Cedrenus. Al-Manun 
hearing of one Leo, an excellent mathe- 
matician at Conflantinople, wrote to the 
emperor, requelling that Leo might be 
permitted to fettle in his dominions, with 
a moft ample falary, as a teacher in that 
fcience. The emperor by this means being 
made acquainted with Leo's merit, efta- 
blifhed a fchool, in which he appointed Leo 
a profeffor, for the fake of a fpecious ex- 
cufe. The caliph fent a fecond time to 
the emperor, entreating that Leo might 
refide with him for a fliort time only ; of- 
fering likewife a large fum of money, and 
terms of lafling peace and alliance. On 
which the emperor immediately created I.eo 
bifhop of ThefTalonica. Cedren. Hift. 
Comp. 548. feq. Herbelot alfo relates, 
that the fame caliph, fo univerfal was his 
fearch after Greek books, procured a copy 
of Apollonius Pergxus, the mathemati- 
cian. But this copy only contained feven 
books. In the mean time, finding by the 
Introduction that the whole confifted of 
eight books, and that the eighth book was 
the foundation of the reft, and being in- 
formed that there was a complete copy in 
the emperor's library at Conftantinople, he 
applied to him for a tranfcript. But the 
Greeks, merely from a principle of jea- 
loufy, would not fuffer the application to 
reach the emperor, and it did not take ef- 
feft. Biblioth. Oriental, p. 978. col. a. 




means of inftru6lion. They founded un'iverfities in many 
cities of Spain and Africa'. They brought with them their 
books, which Charlemagne, emperor of France and Ger- 
many, commanded to be tranflated from Arabic into Latin ' i 
and which, by the care and encouragement of that liberal 
prince, being quickly difTeminated over his extenfive domi- 
nions, foon became familiar to the weilern world. Hence it 
is, that we find our early Latin authors of the dark ages 
chiefly employed in writing fyflems of the mofl abftrufe 
fciences : and from thefe beginnings the Ariftotelic philofo- 
phy acquired fuch eftablifhment and authority, that from 
long prefcription it remains to this day the facred and un- 
controverted do6lrine of our fchools '. From this fountain 
the infatuations of aflrology took pofTelTion of the middle 
ages, and were continued even to modern times. To the 
peculiar genius of this psople it is owing, that chemiitry 
became blended with fo many extravagancies, obfcured with 
unintelligible jargon, and filled with fantaflic notions, myfle- 

^ 'See Hotting. HilL Eccl. Saec. Ix. feft. 
ii. lit. G g. According to the beft writers 
of oriental hiftory, the Arabians had made 
great advances on the coafts communicating 
with Spain, I mean in Africa, about the 
year of Chrift 692. And they became ac- 
tually mailers of Spain itfelf in the year 
712. See Mod. Univ. Hill. vol. ii. p. 168. 
179. edit. 1759. It may be obferved, that 
Sicily became part of the dominion of the 
Saracens, within fixty years after Maho- 
met's death, and in the feventh century, 
together with almoft all Afia and Africa. 
Only part of Greece and the lefler Afia 
then remained to the Grecian empire at 
Conflantinople. Conring. De Script. &c. 
Comment, p. 10 1. edit. Wratifl. 1727. 
See alfo Univ. Hill, ut fupr. 

* Cufpinian. de Csefarib. p. 419. 

* Yet it mull not be forgot, that S, Aullin 
had tranflated part of Arillotle's logic from 
the original Greek into Latin before the 
fifth century ; and that the peripatetic phi- 

Icfophy mull have been partly known to 
the weilern fcholars from the writings and 
tranflations of Boethius, who flourifhed 
about the year 520. Alcuine, Charle- 
magne's mailer, commends S. Auftin's book 
De Prsedicamentis, which he calls, Dec em 
Naturae verba. Rog. Bacon, de Util. 
Scient. cap. xiv. See alfo Op. Maj. An in- 
genious and learned writer, already quoted, 
affirms, that in the age of Charlemagne 
there were many Greek fcholars who made 
tranflations of Ariftotle, which were in 
ufe below the year iioo. I will not be- 
lieve that any Europeans, properly fo called, 
were competently flcilled in Greek for this 
purpofe in the time of Charlemagne : nor, 
if they were, is it likely that of themfelves 
they fhould have turned their thoughts to 
Arillotle's philofophy. Unlefs, by viri 
Grace doSli., this writer means the learned 
Arabs of Spain, which does not appear 
from his context. See Eufeb. Renaudot. 
ut fupr. p. 247. 

Vol. L 




rious pretentions, and fuperftitious operations. And it is 
eafy to conceive, that among thefe vifionary philofophers, 
£o fertile in fpeculation, logic, and metaphyfics, contrafted 
much of that refinement and perplexity, which for fo many 
centuries exercifed the genius of profound reafoners and 
captious difputants, and fo long obftru^led the progrefs of 
true knowledge. It may perhaps be regretted, in the mean 
time, that this predilection of the Arabian fcholars for phi- 
lofophic enquiries, prevented them from importing into 
Europe a literature of another kind. But rude and barba- 
rous nations would not have been polifhed by the hiftory,, 
poetry, and oratory of the Greeks. Although capable of 
comprehending the folid truths of many parts of fcience, 
they are unprepared to be impreffed with ideas of elegance, 
and to relifh works of tafte. Men muft be infl:ru6ted before 
they can be refined j and, in the gradations of knowledge,, 
polite literature does not take place till fome progrefs has firft 
been made in philofophy. Yet it is at the fame time propable^ 
that the Arabians, among their literary ftores, brought into 
Spain and Italy many Greek authors not of the fcienti&c fpecies " :. 

" It muft not be forgot, that they tran- 
HsLt&i Ariftotle's Poetics. There is ex- 
tant " Averroys Snmma in Ariftotelis poe- 
** triam ex Arabico fermone in Latinum 
•' trado*^ ab Hermano Alemanno ; Prse- 
*' mittitur determinatio Ibinrofdin in poe- 
" tri& Ariftotelis. Venet. 15 « 5." There is 
a tranflation of the Poetics into Arabic 
by Abou Mufchar Metta, entitled, Abo- 
TiKA. See Herbel. Bibl. Oriental, p. 18. 
col. a. p. 971. b. p. 40. col. 2. p. 337. col. 
2. Farabi, who ftudied at Bagdad about the 
year 930, one of the tranflator's of Ari- 
ftotle's Analytics, wrote ftxty books on 
(hat philofopher's Rhetoric ; declaring that 
he had read it over two hundred times, and 
yet was equally defirous of reading it again. 
Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xiii. 265. Herbelot men- 
tions Ariftotle's Morals, tranflated by 
Honain. Bibl. Oriental, p. 963. a. See 
alfo p. 971. a. 973, p. 974. b. Compare 

Mofheim Hift. ch. i. p. 217. 288. Note C. 
p. 2. ch. 1. Averroys alfo paraphrgfed 
Ariftotle's Rhetoric. There are alfo 
tranflations into Arabic of Ariftotle's 
Analytics, and his treatife of In- 
terpretation. The firft they called 
Analuthica, and the fecond, Bari 
Armenias. But^ Ariftotle's logic, meta- 
phyfics, and phyfics pleafed them moft ;. 
particularly the eight books of his phyfics, 
which exhibits a general view of that fcience. 
Some of our countrymen were tranflators of 
thefe Arabic books into Latin. Athelard, 
a monk of Bath, tranflated the Arabic Eu- 
clid into Latin, about 1000. Leland. Script. 
Brit. p. 200. There are fome manufcripts 
of it in the Bodleian library, and elfewhere.. 
But the moft beautiful and elegant copy I 
have feen is on vellum, in Trinity college 
library at Oxford. Cod. MSS. Num. lov 




and that the migration of this people into the weftern world, 
while it proved the fortunate inllrument of introducing into 
Europe fome of the Greek claffics at a very early period, was 
moreover a means of preferving thofe genuine models of 
compofition, and of tranfmitting them to the prefent gene- 
ration ", It is certain, that about the clofe of the ninth cen- 
tury, polite letters, together with the fciences, began in 
fome degree to be ftudied in Italy, France, and Germany* 
Charlemagne, whofe munificence and a6livity in propagating 
the Arabian literature has already been mentioned, founded 
the univerfities of Bononia, Pavia, Paris, and Ofnaburgh. 
Charles the Bald feconded the falutary endeavours of Char- 
lemagne. Lothaire, the brother of the latter, ere6led fchools 
in the eight principal cities of Italy ". The number of mo- 
naflcries and collegiate churches in thofe countries was daily 
€ncreafing *" : in which the youth, as a preparation to the 

" See what I have fald concerning the 
deftruftion of many Greek clafilcs at Con- 
Itantinople, in the Preface to Theocritus, 
Oxon. 1770. torn. i. Prefat. p. xiv. xv. 
To which I will add, that fo early as the 
fourth century, the chriftian priefls did no 
fmall injury to antient literature, by pro- 
hibiting and difcouraging the fludy of the 
old pagan philofophers. Hence the ftory, 
that Jerom dreamed he was whipped by 
the Devil for reading Cicero. Compare 
what is faid of Livy below. 

* A..D. 823. See Murator. Scriptor. 
Rer. Italicar. i. p. 151. 

* Cave mentions, " Cjenobia Italica, 
** Cafiinenfe, Ferrarienfe: Germanics, Fm\- 
" denfe, Sangellenfe, Augienfe, Lobienfe: 
" Gallica, Corbienfe, Rhemenfe, Or- 
" bacenfe, Floriacenfe, &c." Hid. Lit. 
Sasc. Photian. p. 503. edit. 1688. Char- 
lemagne alfo founded two archbifliopricks 
and nine bifhopricks in the moft confidera- 
ble towns of Germany. Aub. Miraei Op. 
Diplomat, i. p, 16. Charlemrgne feems to 
have founded libraries. See J. David. Koe- 
ler, DilT. De Bibliotheca Caroli Mag. 


And Aft. Erudit. et Cu- 

riof. Francon. P. x. p. 716. feq. 60. And 
Hift. Lit. Franc, torn. iv. 4to. p. 223. 
Compare Laun. c. iv. p. 30, Eginhart 
mentions his private library. Vit. Car, 
Mag. p. 41. a. edit. 1565. He even 
founded a library at Jerufalem, for the ufe 
of thofe weftern pilgrims who vifited the 
holy fepulchre. Hilh Lit. ut fupr. p. 373. 
His fucceflbr alfo, Charles the Bald, ereded 
many libraries. Two of his librarians, 
Holduin and Ebbo, occur under that title 
in fubfcriptions. Bibl. Hift. Liter. Struvii 
et Jugl. cap. ii. fed. xvii, p. 172. This 
monarch, before his laft expedition into 
Italy about the year 870, in cafe of his 
deceafe, orders his large library to be di- 
vided into three parts, and difpofed of ac- 
cordingly. Hift. Lit. ut fupr. torn. v. p. 
514. Launoy juftly remarks, that many 
noble public inftitutions of Charles the 
BaldjWerereferred, by fucceeding hiftorians, 
to their more favorite hero Charlemagne. 
Ubi. fupr. p. 53. edit. Fabric. Their im- 
mediate fuccefibrs, at leaft of the German 
race, were not fach confpicuous patrons of 

C 2 



fludy of the facred fcrlptures, were exercifed in reading pro- 
fane authors, together with the antient do6lors of the 
church, and habituated to a Latin ftyle. The monks of 
Caflino in Italy were diftinguifhed before the year looo, not 
only for their knowledge of the fciences, but their attention 
to polite learning, and an acquaintance with the clafTics. 
Their learned abbot Defiderius colle6led the beft of the Greek 
and Roman writers. This fraternity not only compofed 
learned treatifes in mufic, logic, aftronomy, and the Vitruvian 
architedlure, but likewife employed a portion of their time 
in tranfcribing Tacitus \ Jornandes, Jofephus, Ovid's Fafti, 
Cicero, Seneca, Donatus the grammarian, Virgil, Theocritus,, 
and Homer \ 

y Lipfius fays, that Leo the tenth gave 
live hundred pieces of gold for the five firft 
books of Tacitus's Annals, to the monks 
of a convent in Saxony. This Lipfiufi calls 
the refurreflion of Tacitus to life. Ad 
Annal. Tacit, lib. ii. c. 9. At the end of 
the edition of Tacitus, publifhed under 
Leo's patronage by Beroaldus in 15 15, 
this edidl is printed, " Nomine Leonis X. 
" propofita funt prJemia non mediocria his 
*' qui ad eum libros veteres neque haftenus 
" editos adtulerint." 

^ Chron. Caffin. Monaft. lib. iii. c. 35. 
Poggius Florentinus found a Stratage- 
MATA of Frontinus, about the year 1420, 
in this monaftery. Mabillon. Muf. Ital. 
torn. i. p. 133. Manufcriptsof the follow- 
ing claffics now in the Harleian coUedion, 
appear to have been written between the 
eighth and tenth centuries inclufively. Two 
copies of Terence, Brit. Muf. MSS. Harl. 
2670. 2750. Cicero's Paradoxa Stoico- 
rum, the firft book De Natura Deorum, 
Orations againft Cataline, De Oratore, 
De Inventione Rhetorica, Ad Heren- 
nium, n. 2622. 2716. 2623. And 
the Epiftles, with others of his works, n. 
2682. A fragment of the .^ncid, n. 2772. 
Livy, n. 2672. Lucius Florus, n. 2620. 
Ovid's Meiamorphofes and Fafti, n. 2737. 

Quintilian, n. 2664. Korace, the Odee-. 
excepted, n. 2725. Many of the fame 
and other claffic authors occur in the Britifh 
Mufeum, written in the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries. Seen. 5443. 2656. 2475. 
2624. 2591. 2668. 2533. 2770. 2492, 
2709. 2655. 2654. 2664. 2728. 5534, 
2609. 2724. 5412. 2643. 5304. 2633. 
There are four copies of Statius, one of the 
twelfth century, n. 2720. And three 
others of the thirteenth, n. 2608. 2636. 
2665. Plautus's Comedies are among 
the royal manufcripts, written in the 
tenth, 1 5 C. xi. 4. And fome parts of 
Tully in the fame, ibid. i. Suetonius, 15. 
C. iv. I . Horace's Art of Poetry, Epiftles, 
and Satires, with Eutropius, in the fame, 15 
B.vii. I. 2. 3. xvi. X. &c. Willibold, oneof 
the learned Saxons whofe literature will be 
mentioned in its proper place, having vifited 
Rome and Jerufalem, retired for fome time 
to this monaftery, about the year 730. Vit. 
Williboldi, Canif. Antiq. Left. xv. 695. 
And Pantal. de Vir. Illuftr. par. ii. p. 263.. 
And Birinus^ who came into England from 
Rome about the year 630, with a defign of 
converting the Saxons, brought with him 
one Benedift, a monk of CafTmo, whom 
he placed over the monks or church of 
Winchefter. Whaiton, Angl. Sacr. i. 190. 




In the mean time England fhared thefe improvements in 
knowledge : and literature, chiefly derived from the fame 
fources, v^^as communicated to our Saxon anceftors about the 
beginning of tiie eighth century \ The Anglo-Saxons were 
converted to chriftianity about the year 570. In confequence 
of this event, they foon acquired civility and learning. Hence 
they neceiTariiy eftablifhed a communication with Rome, 
and acquired a familiarity wiih the Latin language. During 
this period, it v/as the prevailing practice among the Saxons, 
not only of the clergy but of the better fort of laity, to 
make a voyage to Rome ^ It is natural to imagine with 
what ardour the new converts vifited the holy fee, which 
at the fame time was fortunately the capital of literature. 
While they gratified their devotion, undefignedly and im- 
perceptibly they became acquainted with ufeful fcience; 

In return, Rome fent her emiiTaries into Britain. Theo-- 
dore,. a monk of Rome, originally a Greek pried, a native o3 
Tarfus in Cilicia, was confecrated archbiiliop of Canter- 
bury, and fent into England by pope Vitellian, in the year 
688 *. He was fkilled in the metrical art, aftronomy, arith- 
metic, church-mufic, and the Greek and Latin languages '. 
The new prelate brought with him a large library, as it waS' 
called and efteemed, confifting of numerous Greek and Latin 
authors j among which were Homer in a large volume, 
written, on, paper v/ith moft exquifite elegance, the homi- 
lies of faint Chryfoftom on parchment, the pfalter, and Jo- 
fephus's Hypomnefricon, all in Greek ^ Theodoi-e was ac- 

*= Cave, Saecul. Eutych. p. 382. 

■^ " Hiis temporibus multi Anglorum 
** gentis nobiles et ignobiles viri et foe- 
*• mins, duces et privati, divini numinis 
*• inftindu, Romam venire confueverant. 
" &c." Bede, De Temp. Apud Leiand, 
Script. Brit. Ceolfridus. 

' Birchington, apud Wharton, Angl. 
Sacr; i, 2. Cave, Hift. Lit. p. 464. Par- 
ker, Antiquitat. Brit. p. 53. 

' Bed. Hift. Ecclefiaft. Gent. Angl. iv. 

2 . Bede fays of Theodore and of Adriaa. 
mentioned below, " Ufque hodie fuperfunt 
" de eorum difcipulis, qui Latinam Gtx- 
" camque linguam, a^que ut propriam iii 
" qua nati funt, norunt." See alfo ibid, 
c. 1. 

8 Parker, ut fupr. p. 80. See alfo Lam-- 
barde's Peramb. Kent, p. 233. A tranfcript 
of the Jofephus 500 years old waS; given to 
the public library at Cambridge, by the. 
archbifhop. See Fabric. B^bl. Gr. x. 109. 




companied into England by Adrian, a Neapolitan monk, and 
a native of Africa, who was equally fkilled in facred and 
profane learning, and at the fame time appointed by the pope 
to the abbacy of faint Auflin's at Canterbury. Bede informs 
us, that Adrian requefled pope VitelHan to confer the arch- 
biflioprick on Theodore, and that the pope confented on 
condition that Adrian, " who had been twice in France, and 
*' on that account was better acquai?2ted with the nature and 
** difficulties of fo long a journey," would condu<5l Theo- 
dore into Britain \ They were both efcorted to the city of 
Canterbury by Benedict Bifcop, a native of Northumber- 
land, and a monk, who had formerly been acquainted with 
them in a vifit which he made to Rome '. Benedi6l feems 
at this time to have been one of the moft diflinguifhed of 
the Saxon ecclefiaftics : availing himfelf of the arrival of thefe 
two learned ftrangers, under their dirediion and affiftance, 
he procured workmen from France, and built the monaflery 
of Weremouth in Northumberland. The church he con- 
ftru6led of ftone, after the manner of the Roman architec- 
ture J and adorned its walls and roof with pictures, which 
he purchafed at Rome, reprefenting among other facred fub- 
jecls, the Virgin Mary, the twelve apoftles, the evangelical 
hifloiy, and the vifions of the apocalypfe ''. The windows 
were glazed by artifts brought from France. But I mention 
this foundation to introduce an anecdote much to our pur- 

* Bed. Hill. Eccl. iv, i. " Et ob id 
*' majorem notidam hujus itineris, &c." 

' See Math. Weftmon. fub. an. 703. 
Lei. Script. Brit. p. 109. 

^ See Bede, Hift. Abbat. Wiremuth. 
p, 295. 297. edit. Cantab. In one of his 
expeditions to Rome, he brought over 
John, arch-chantor of St. Peter's at Rome, 
who introduced the Roman method of fmg- 
ing mafs. Bed. ibid. p. 295. He taught 
the monks of Benedi<5l's abbey ; and all 
the fingers of the monafteries of that pro- 
vince came from various parts to hear him 

fing. Bed. Hift. Eccl. iv. 18. He like- 
wife brought over from Rome two filken 
palls of exquifite workmanfhip, with which 
he afterwards purchafed of king Aldfrid, 
fucceflbr of Elfrid, two pieces of land for 
his monaftery. Bed. Vit. Abb. ut fupr. 
p. 297. Bale cenfures Benedidl for being 
the firft who introduced into England 
painters, glafiers, et id gt7iU5 alios ad vo- 
LUPTATEM arufices. Cent. i. 82. This 
is the language of a puritan in Life, 
as well as in Religion. 




pofe. Benedi6l added to his monaftery an ample library> 
which he flored with Greek and Latin volumes, imported 
by himfelf from Italy '. Bede has thought it a matter 
worthy to be recorded, that Ceoifrid, his fucceflbr in the 
government of Weremouth-abbey, augmented this colle6lion 
with three volumes of pande6ls, and a book of cofmography 
wonderfully enriched with curious workmanfhip, and bought 
at Rome"". The example of the pious Benedi6l was imme- 
diately followed by Acca bifhop of Hexam in the fame pro- 
vince : who having finiflied his cathedral church by the help 
of archite61:s, mafons, and glafiers hired in Italy, adorned it, 
according to Leland, with a valuable library of Greek and 
Latin authors ". But Bede, Acca's cotemporary, relates, that 
this library was entirely compofed of the hiftories of thofe 
apoflles and martyrs to whofe relics he had dedicated fe- 
verctl altars in his church, and other ecclefiaflical treatifes, 
which he had colle6led with infinite labour \ Bede however 
calls it a moft copious and noble library ^ Nor is it foreign 
to our purpofe to add, that Acca invited from Kent into 
Northumberland, and retained in his fervice during the 
fpace of twelve years, a celebrated chantor named Maban : 
by the affiftance of whofe inftru.6lions and fuperintendance 
he not only regulated the church mufic of his diocefe, but 
introduced the ufe of many Latin hymns hitherto unknown 
in the northern churches of England \ It appears that be- 

' Lei. ubi fupr. i lO. 

"> Bede, Hift. Abbat. Wiremuth. p. 299. 
Op. Bed. edit. Cantab. 

" Lei. ibid. p. 105. 
'*» Bed. Hift. v. 21. 

P Hift. V. c. 20. 

1 Bed. Hift. Eccl. v. c. 21. Maban had 
been taught to fing in Kent by the fuccef- 
fors of the difciples of faint Gregory. 
Compare Bed. iv. 2. If we may believe 
William of Malmeftjury, who wrote about 
the year 1 1 20, they had organs in the 
Saxon churches before the conqueft. He 
fays that archbilhop Duullan, in king Ed- 

gar's reign, gave an organ to the abbey- 
church of Malmefbury ;. which he defcribes 
to have been like thofe in ufe at prefent. 
" Organa, ubi per acreas fiftulas muficis 
" menfuris elaboratas, dudum conceptas 
*• follis vomit anxius auras." William, 
who was a monk of this abbey, adds, that 
this benefaftion of Dunftan was infcribed 
in a Latin diftich, which he quotes, on tlit 
organ pipes. Vit. Aldhelm. Whart. Ang. 
Sacr. ii. p. 33. See what is faid of Dun- 
ftan below. And Ofb. Vit. S. Dunll. 
Wharton, Angl. Sacr. ii. 93, 



fore the arrival of Theodore and Adrian, celebrated fchools^ 
for educating youth in the fciences had been long eftablifhed 
in Kent '. Literature, however, feems at this period to have 
.flourifhed with equal reputation at the other extremity 
of the ifland, and even in our mofl northern provinces. 
Ecbert, bifiiop of York, founded a library in his cathedral, 
whu^, like fome of thofe already mentioned, is faid to have 
been ?repleniilied with a variety of Latin and Greek books \ 
Alcuine, whom Ecbert appointed his firfl librarian, hints at 
this library in a Latin epiftle to Charlemagne. " Send me 
*' from France fome learned treatifes, of equal excellence 
'' with thofe which I preferve here in England under my 
*' cuflody, colle61ed by the induftry of my mafter Ecbert: 
*' and I will fend to you fome of my youths, who fliall carry 
" with them the flowers of Britain into France. So that 
** there fliall not only be an enclofed garden at York, but 
** alfo at Tours fome fprouts of Paradife V' &c. William 
of Malmefbury judged this library to be of fufficient im- 
portance not only to be mentioned in his hiflory, but to be 
ftyled, " Omnium liberalium artium armarium, nobiliflimam 
" bibliothecam "." This repofitory remained till the reign of 
king Stephen, when it was deflroyed by fire, with great part 
of the city of York ^. Its founder Ecbert died in the year 
767 ". Before the end of the eighth century, the monafleries 
of Weftminfter, Saint Alban's, Worcefler, Malmefbury, Glaf- 
tonbury, with fome others, were founded, and opulently en- 
dowed. That of Saint Alban's was filled with one hundred 
monks by king OfFa ^ Many new bifhopricks were alfo 
eflablifhed in England : all which inflitutions, by multiplying 

^ See Bed. Op. per Smith, p. 724. ieq. "^ Pitts, p. 154. 

Append. * Cave, Hift. Lit. p. 486. 

Lei. p. 114. y A. D. 793. See Dugd. Mon. i. 

' Bale, ii. 15. p. 177. 

' De Reg. i. i. 



die number of ecclefiaflics, turned the attention of many 
perfons to letters. 

The beft writers among the Saxons flourillied about the 
eighth century. Thefe were Aldhelm, bifliop of Shirburn, 
Ceolfrid, Alcuine, and Bede ; with whom I muft alfo join 
king Alfred. But in an enquiry of this nature, Alfred de- 
ferves particular notice, not only as a writer, but as the 
illuflrious rival of Charlemagne, in protefting and allifting 
the reftoration of literature. He is faid to have founded the 
Univerfity of Oxford ; and it is highly probable, that in imi- 
tation of Charlemagne's fimilar inflitutions, he appointed 
learned perfons to give public and gratuitous inftrudlions 
in theology, but principally in the fafhionable fciences of 
logic, aftronomy, arithmetic, and geometry, at that place, 
which was then a confiderable town, and conveniently 
fituated in the neighbourhood of thofe royal feats at which 
Alfred chiefly refided. He fuffered no priefl that was illite- 
rate to be advanced to any ecclefiaftical dignity \ He invited 
his nobility to educate their fons in learning, and requeftcd 
thofe lords of his court who had no children, to fend to 
fchool fuch of their younger fervants as difcovered a pro- 
miflng capacity, and to breed them to the clerical profellion ^ 
Alfred, while a boy, had himfelf experienced the inconve- 
niencies arifmg from a want of fcholars, and even of com- 
mon inflruclors, in his dominions : for he was twelve years 
of age, before he could procure in the weflern kingdom a 
mafter properly qualified to teach him the alphabet. But, 
while yet unable to read, he could repeat from memory a 
great variety of Saxon fongs \ He was fond of culvating 

y MS. Bever. MSS. Coll. Trin. Oxon. by which Alfred computed time. He 

Codd. xlvii. f. 82. caufed fix wax tapers to be made, each 

^ Bever, ibid. twelve inches long, and of as many 

* Flor. Vigorn. fub ann. 871. Bromp- ounces in weight: on thefe tapers he or- 

ton, Chron. in Alfr. p. 814. And MS. dered the inches to be regularly marked ; 

Bever, ut fupr. It is curious to obferve and having found that one of them burned 

the fimplicity of this age, in the method juft four hours, he committed the care of 

Vol. I. d them 



his native tongue : and with a view of inviting the people 
in general to a love of reading, and to a knowledge of books 
which they could not otherwife have underftood, he tranf- 
lated many Latin authors into Saxon. Thefe, among others, 
were Boethius of the Consolation of Philosophy, a 
manufcript of vt^hich of Alfred's Age flill remains % Orofius's 
History of the Pagans, faint Gregory's Pastoral Care, 
the venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History, and the 
Soliloquies of faint Auftin. Probably faint Auflin was 
fciefted by Alfred, becaufe he was the favorite author of 
Charlemagne \ Alfred died in the year 900, and was buried 
at Hyde abbey, in the fuburbs of Winchefter, under a fump- 
tuous monument of porphyry ^ 

Aldhelm, nephew of Ina king of the Weft Saxons, fre- 
quently vifited France and Italy. While a monk of Malmef- 
bury in Wiltlhire, he went from his monaftery to Canter- 
bury, in order to learn logic, rhetoric, and the Greek lan- 
guage, of archbifliop Theodore, and of Albin abbot of faint 
Auflin's'^, the pupil of Adrian \ But he had before acquired 

them to the keepers of his chapel, who 
from time to time gave due notice how the 
hours went. But as in windy weather the 
candles were more walled ; to remedy this 
inconvenience he invented lanthorns, there 
being then no glafs to be met with in his 
dominions. AiTer. Menev. Vit. Alfr. p. 68. 
edit. Wife. In the mean time, and dur- 
ing this very period, the Perfians imported 
into Europe a machine, which prefented 
the firft rudiments of a ftriking clock. It 
was brought as a prefent to Charlemagne, 
from Abdella king of Perfia, by two 
monks of Jerufalem, in the year Soo. 
Among other prefents, fays Eginhart, was 
an horologe of brafs, wonderfully con- 
ftrufted by fome mechanical artifice, in 
which the courfe of the twelve hours ad 
ckpfydram 'vertehatur, with as many little 
brafen balls, which at the clofe of each 
hour dropped down on a fort of bells un- 
derneath, and founded the end of the 
hour. There were alfo twelve figures of 
horfeinen, who, when the twelve hours were 

completed, iflued out at twelve windows, 
which till then ftood open, and returning 
again, fhut the windowi after them. He 
adds, that there were many other curioiities 
in this inllrument, which it would be te- 
dious to recount. Eginhart, Kar. Magn. 
p. 108. It is to be remembered, that 
Eginhart was an eye-witnefs of what is 
here defcribed ; and that he was an abbot, 
a Ikilful architeft, and very learned in the 

» MSS. Cott. Oth. a. 6. Svo. membr. 

'^ He was particularly fond of Auftin's 
book De CiviTATE Dei. Eginhiirt. Vit. 
Car. Magn. p. 29. 

"^ Affer. Menev. p. 72. ed. Wife. 

'' Bcde fays, that Theodore and Adrian 
taught Tobias bUhop of Rocheller the 
Greek and («itin tongues fo perfeftly, that 
he could fpcak them as fluently as his na- 
tive Saxdn. Hill. Eccl. v, 23. 

*-■ Lei. p. 97. Thorn fays, that Albin 
learned Greek of Adrian. Chron. Dec. 
Script, p. 1771. 



fome knowledge of Greek and Latin under Maidulf, an Hi- 
bernian or Scot, who had eredled a fmall monaflery or 
fchool at Mahnefbury ^ Camden affirms, that Aldhelm was 
the firft of the Saxons who wrote in Latin, and that he 
taught his countrymen the art of Latin verfification ^ But 
a very intelhgent atiquarian in this fort of Hterature, men- 
tions an anonymous Latin poet, who wrote the Hfe of Char-* 
lemagne in verfe ; and adds, that he was the firft of the 
Saxons that attempted to write Latin verfe ''. It is however 
certain, that Aldhelm's Latin compofitions, whether in verfe 
or profe, as novelties were deemed extraordinary perform- 
ances, and excited the attention and admiration of fcholars 
in other countries. A learned cotemporary, who lived in a 
remote province of a Frankifh territory, in an epiftle to Ald- 
helm has this remarkable expreflion, *' Vestry Latinitatis 
" Panegyricus rumor has reached us even at this dif- 
" tance ', 5cc." In reward of thefe uncommon merits he was 
made bifhop of Shirburn in Dorfetfliire in the year 705 ''. 
His writings are chiefly theological : but he has likewifc left 
in Latin verfe a book of ^Enigmata, copied from a work 
of the fame title under the name of Sympofius ', a poem de 
ViRGiNiTATE hereafter cited, and treatifes on arithnietic, 
aftrology, rhetoric, and metre. The laft treatife is a proof 
that the ornaments of compofition now began to be ftudied. 
Leland mentions his Cantiones Saxonic^, one of which 
continued to be commonly fung in William of Malmefbury's 
time : and, as it was artfully interfperfed with many allufions 

^ W. Malmfb. ubi Infr. p. 3. * W. Malmfb. ut fupr. p. 4. 

f Wiltfh. p. 116. But this Aldhelm k q^^^ .55^ 
affirms of himfelf in his treatife on Metre. t-'i • t>-li »* j t • ^ 

Sec W. Malmlb. apud Wharton. Angl. ' See Fabnc.Bibl. Med. Lat. iv. p. 69J. 

Sacr. ii 4. feq. And Bibl. Lat. i. p. 681. And W. Malm. 

•^ Conringius, Script. Comment, p. 108. ubi fupr. p. 7. Among the manufcripts of 

This poem was printed by Reincccius at Exeter cathedral is a book of ^Enig mat a 

Helmftadt many years ago, with a large in Saxon, fome of which are written in 

commentary. Compare Vofs. Hid. Lat. Runic charadlers, ii.fol. 98. 
iii. 4. 

d 2 to 



to pafTages of Scripture, was often fung by Aldhelm him- 
felf to the populace in the ftreets, with a defign of alluring 
the ignorant and idle, by fo fpecious a mode of inftru6lion, 
to a fenfe of duty, and a knowledge of religious fubje6ts °. 
Malmefbury obferves, that Aldhelm might be juflly deemed 
" ex acumine Graecum, ex nitore Romanum, et ex pompa 
** Anglum p." It is evident, that Malmefbury, while he 
here chara(5lerifes the Greeks by their acutenefs, took his 
idea of them from their fcientifical literature, which was 
then only known. After the revival of the Greek philofo- 
phy by the Saracens, Ariflotle and Euclid were familiar in 
Europe long before Homer and Pindar. The chara6ler of 
Aldhelm is thus drawn by an antient chronicler, " He was 
" an excellent harper, a moft eloquent Saxon and Latin 
" poet, a moft expert chantor or finger, a doctor egregius, 
" and admirably verfed in the fcriptures and the liberal 
" fciences \" 

" Malmfb, ubi fupr. p. 4. 

p Ubi. fupr. p. 4. 

1 Chron. Anon. Lcland. Colleftan. ii. 
278. To be fkilled in finging is often 
mentioned as an accomplilhment of the 
antient Saxon ecclefiaftics. Bede fays, that 
Edda a monk of Canterbury, and a learned 
writer, was " primus cantandi magifter." 
Hift. lib. iv. cap. 2. Wolftan, a learned 
monk of Winchefter, of the fame age, was 
a celebrated finger, and even wrote a trea- 
tifc de ToNORUM Harmonia, cited by 
William of Malmefbury, De Reg. lib. ii. 
c. 39. Lei. Script. Brit. p. 165. Their 
Ikill in playing on the harp is alfo fre- 
quently mentioned. Of faint Dunftan, 
archbiibop of Canterbury, about the year 
988, it is faid, that among his facred 
ftudies, he cultivated the arts of writing, 
harping, and painting. Vit. S. Dunftan, 
MSS. Cott. Brit. Muf. Faustin. B. 13. 
Hickes has engraved a figure of our Saviour 
drawn by faint Dunftan, with a fpecimen of 
his writing, both remaining in the Bodleian 
library. Gram. Saxon, p. 104. cap. xxii. 

The writing and many of the piftures 
and illuminations in our Saxon manufcripts 
were executed by the priefl^. A book of 
the gofpel, preferved in the Cotton library, 
is a fine fpecimen of the Saxon calligraphy 
and decorations. It is written by Eadfrid 
bifhop of Durham, in the moft exquifite 
manner. Ethelwold his fucceflbr did the 
illuminations, the capital letters, thepi£tur2 
of the crofs, and the evangelifts, with infi- 
nite labour and elegance : and Bilfrid, the 
anachorete covered the book, thus writtea 
and adorned, with gold and filver plates 
and precious ftones. AH this is related by 
Aldred, the Saxon gloflator, at the end of 
St. John's gofpel. The work was finifhed 
about the year 720. MSS. Cott. Brit. Muf. 
Nero. D. 4. Cod. membr. fol. quadrat. 
JE\£i,[n, a monk, is the elegant fcribe of 
many Saxon pieces chiefly hiftorical and 
fcriptural in the fame library, and perhaps 
the painter of the figures, probably foon 
after the year 978. Ibid. Titus. D. 26. 
Cod. membr. 8vo. The Saxon copy of 
the four evangelifts, which king Athelftaa 

. gave 



Alcuine, bifliop Ecbert's librarian at York, was a cotem- 
porary pupil with Aldhelm under Theodore and Adrian 
at Canterbury''. During the prefent period, there feems to 
have been a clofe correfpondence and intercourfe between 
the French and Anglo-Saxons in matters of literature. Al- 
cuine was invited from England into France, to fuperintend 
the fludies of Charlemagne, whom he inflru(5led in logic, 
rhetoric, and aftronomy \ He was alfo the mafter of Ra- 
banus Maurus, who became afterwards the governor and 
preceptor of the great abbey of Fulda in Germany, one of 

gave to Durham church, remains In the 
lame library. It has the painted images of 
S. Cuthbert, radiated and crowned, bleffing 
king Athenian, and of the four evangelifts. 
This is undoubtedly the work of the 
monks ; but Wanley believed it to have 
been done in France. Otho. B. 9. Cod. 
membran. fol. At Trinity college in 
Cambridge is a Pfalter in Latin and Saxon, 
admirably written, and illuminated with 
letters in gold, filver, miniated, &c. It is 
full of a variety of hiltorical piftures. At 
the end is the figure of the writer Eadwin, 
fuppofed to be a monk of Canterbury, 
holding a pen of metal, undoubtedly ufed 
in fuch fort of writing ; with -an infcription 
importing his name, and excellence in the 
calligraphic art. It appears to be performed 
about the reign of king Stephen. Cod. 
membr. fol. poll ClafT. a dextr. Ser. Med. 
5. [among the Single Cogues.] Ead- 
win was a famous and frequent writer of 
books for the library of Chrift-church at 
Canterbury, as appears by a catalogue of 
their books taken A. D. 1315. In Eibl. 
Cott. Galb. E. 4. The eight hiftorical 
piftures richly illuminated with gold of 
the Annunciation, the Meeting of Mary and 
Elizabeth, 8cc. in a manufcript of the gofpel, 
are alfo thought to be of the reign of king 
Stephen, yet perhaps from the fame kind 
of artills. The Saxon clergy were inge- 
nious artificers in many other refpetts. 
S. Dunftan above-mentioned, made two of 
the bells of Abingdon abbey with his own 
hands. Monaft. Anglic, torn. i. p. 104.. 

John of Glaftonbur}', who wrote about the 
year 1400,. relates, that there remained in. 
the abbey at Glaftonbury, in his time, 
crofles, incenfc-veffels, and veftments, made, 
by Dunftan while a monk there, cap. 161. 
He adds, that Dunftan alfo handled, " fcal- 
" pellum ut fculperer." It is faid, that fee 
could model any image in brafs, iron, gold, 
or filver. Olb. Vit. S. Dunftan. apud 
Whart. ii. 94. Ervene, oneof the teachers 
of Wolftan bilhop of Worcefter, perhaps a 
monk of Bury, was famous for calligraphy, 
and fkill in colours. To invite his pupils 
to read, he made ufe of a Pfalter and Sa- 
cramentary, whofe capital letters he had 
richly illuminated with gold. This was 
about the year 980. Will. Malmelb. Vit. 
Wulft. Wharton, Angl. Sacr. p. 244. 
William of Malmefbury fays, that Elfric, a 
Saxon abbot of Malmelbury, was a Ikillful 
architect, ^ciijjcandi gnarus. Vit. Aldhelm. 
Wharton, Angl. Sacr. ii. p. 33. Herman, 
one of the Norman blfnops of Salifbury, 
about 1080, condefceiided to wtite, bind, 
and illuminate books, Monail. Angl. torn, 
iii. p. 375. 

In fome of thefe inftances I have wandered 
below the Saxon times. It is indeed evi- 
dent from various proofs which I could 
give, that the religious praftifed thefe arts 
long afterwards. But the objed of this 
note was the exillcnce of them among the 
the Saxon clergy. 

s Dedicat. Hill. Ecd. Bed. 
"■ Eginhart. \\i. Kir, Magn. p. 30. ed. 
565. 4to. 




the mofl flourifliing feminaries in Europe, founded by 
Charlemagne, and inhabited by two hundred and feventy 
monks '. Alcuine was likewife employed by Charlemagne 
to regulate the le^Slures and difcipline of the univerfities *, 
which that prudent and magnificent potentate had newly 
conftituted". He is faid to have joined to the Greek and 
Latin, an acquaintance with the Hebrew tongue, which 
perhaps in fome degree was known fooner than we may 
fufpeft ; for at Trinity college in Cambridge there is an He- 
brew Pfalter, with a Normanno-Gallic interlinear verfion 
of great antiquity "'. Homilies, lives of faints, commentaries 
on the bible, with the ufual fyflems of logic, aftronomy, 
rhetoric, and grammar, compofe the formidable catalogue of 
Alcuine's numerous writings. Yet in his books of the 
fciences, hefometimes ventured to break through the pedantic 
formalities of a fyfbematical teacher : he has thrown one of 

' Rabanus inftruded them not only in 
the fcriptures, but in profane literature. A 
great number of other fcholars frequented 
thefe leisures. He was the firft founder of 
a library in this monaftery. Cave, Hill. 
Lit. p. 540. Sasc. Phot. His leifure hours 
being entirely taken up in reading or tran- 
fcribing ; he was accufed by fome of the 
idle monks of attending fo much to his 
-fludies, that he neglefted the public duties 
of his ftation, and the care of the revenues 
of the abbey. They therefore removed 
him, yet afterwards in vain attempted to 
recall him. Serrar. Rer. Mogunt. lib. iv. 
p. 625. 

* John Mailros, a Scot, one of Bede's 
fcholars, is faid to have been employed by 
Charlemagne in founding the univerfity of 
Pavia. Dempfl. xii. 904. 

• See Op. Alcuin. Parif, 1617. fol. 
Praefat. Andr. Quercetan. Mabillon fays, 
that Alcuine pointed the homilies, and St. 
Auftin's epiftles, at the inftance of Charle- 
magne. Carl. Magn. R. Diplomat, 
p. 52. a. Charlemagne was moft fond of 
aftronomy. He learned alfo arithmetic. 

In his treafury he had three tables of fil- 
ver, and a fourth of gold, of great weight 
and fize. One of thefe, which was fquare, 
had a pidure or reprefentation of Conftan- 
tinople : another, a round one, a map of 
Rome : a third, which was of the moft ex- 
quifite workmanftiip, and greateft weight, 
confifting of three orbs, contained a map 
of the world. Eginhart, ubi fupr. p. 29. 
31. 41. 

^ MSS. Cod. Coll. S. S. Trin. Cant. 
Clafl". a dextr. Ser. Med. 5. membran. 4to. 
Bedc fays, that he compiled part of his 


TATE, that is from S. Jerom's Latin tran- 
flation of the bible; for he adds, '< nos 
*' qui per beati interpretis Hieronymi in- 
" ^ujfriam puro Hebkaicje viritatjs 
•• fonte potamur," &c. And again, "Ex 
** Hebraica veritate, qua: tui nos per memo- 
** rat urn interpret urn pure pervenifle," Sec, 
He mentions on this occafion the Greek 
Septuagint tranflation of the bible, but 
not as if he had ever feen or confulted it. 
Bed. Chron. p. 34. edit. CaHt. Op. Bed. 



his treatifes in logic, and I think, another in grammar, into 
a dialogue between the author and Charlemagne. He firft 
advifed Bede to write his ecclefiaftical hiftory of England ; 
and was greatly inflrumental in furnifhing materials for that 
early and authentic record of our antiquities ^\ 

In the mean time we mufl not form too magnificent ideas 
of thefe celebrated mafters of fcience, who were thus invited. 
into foreign countries to condu6l the education of mighty 
monarchs, and to plan the rudiments of the mofl illuftrious 
academies. Their merits are in great meafure relative. 
Their circle of reading was contracted, their fyftems of phi- 
lofophy jejune J and their le<Slures rather ferved to flop the 
growth of ignorance, than to produce any pofitive or im-- 
portant improvements in knowledge. They were unable to ^ 
make excuriions from their circumfcribed paths of fcieniific 
inftruclion, into the fpacious and fruitful regions of liberal 
and manly fludy. Thofe of their hearers, who had palTed 
through the courfe of the fciences with applaufe, and afpired 
to higher acquifitions, were exhorted to read CafTiodorus 
and Boethius -, whofe writings they placed at the fummit of 
profane literature, and which they believed to be the great 
boundaries of hu'man erudition, 

I have already mentioned Ceolfrid's prefents of books to ' 
Benedi6l's library at Weremouth abbey. He wrote an account 
of his travels into France and Italy. But his principal work, 
and I believe the only one preferved, is his diflertation con- 
cerninof the clerical tonfure, and the rites of celebrating 
Eafter % This was v^^ritten at the defire of Naiton, a Pictifh 
king, who difpatchcd ambafladors to Ceolfrid for informa- 
tion concerning thefe important articles; requefting Ceolfrid 
at the fame time to fend him fome fkilful archite6ls, who 
could build in his country a church of Hone, after the 

y Dedicaj. Hift. Ecd. Bed. To king ^ Bed. Hift. Eccl. v. 22. And ConciJ. 

Crol\vu]phus, p. 37. j8. edit. Op. Cant. Gen. vi. p. 14.23. 




falhion of the Romans *. Ceolfrid died on a journey to 
Rome, and was buried in a monaflery of Navarre, in the 
year 706 ^ 

But Bede, whofe name is fo nearly and neceflarily 
connected with every part of the literature of this pe- 
riod, and which has therefore been often already mentioned, 
emphatically ftyled the Venerable by his cotemporaries, was 
by far the moil learned of the Saxon writers. He was of 
the northern fchool, if it may be fo called; and was educated 
in the monaftery of faint Peter at Weremouth, under the care 
of the abbots Ceolfrid and Bifcop '. Bale affirms, that Bede 
learned phyfics and mathematics from the purefl fources, the 
original Greek and Roman writers on thefe fubje(5ls \ But 
this hafly aflertion, in part at leaft, may juftly be doubted. 
His knowledge, if we confider his age, was extenfive and 
profound : and it is amazing, in fo rude a period, and during 
a life of no confiderable length, he fhould have made fo fuc- 
cefsful a progrefs, and fuch rapid improvements, in fcientifical 
and philological fludies, and have compofed fo many elabo- 
rate treatifes on different fubje6ls'. It is diverting to fee 
the French critics cenfuring Bede for credulity : they might 
as well have accufed him of fuperftition \ There is much 

« Bed. Hift. Eccl. lb, c. 21. iv. 18. 
b Bed. Hift. Abb. p. 3C0. 
<= Bed. Hift. Eccl. v. 24. 

^ " Libros feptuaginta o<5lo edidit, quos 
" ad finem Histori./e (ux Anglicans 
" edidit. [See Op. edit. Cant, p, 222. 
♦* 223. lib. V. c, 24.] Hie fuccumbit 
" ingcnium, deficit eloquium, fufficientur 
" admirari hominem a fcholaftico exercitio 
*' tarn procul amotum, tarn fobrio fermone 
•' tanta elaborafle volumina," &c. Chron. 
Pr^f. Bever. MSS. Coll. Trin. Oxon. ut 
fupr. f. 6:;. [Bever was a monk of Weft- 
minfter circ. A. D. 1400.] For a full and 
exaft lift of Bcde's works, the curious rea- 
der is referred to Mabillon, Ssec. iii. p. i. 
p. 539. Or Cave, Hift. Lit. ii. p. 

^ It is true, that Bede has introduced 
many miracles and vifions into his hiftory. 
Yet fome of thefe are pleafmg to the ima- 
gination : they are tinctured with the gloom 
of the cloifter, operating on the extrava- 
gancies of oriental invention. I will give 
an inftance or two. A monk of Northum- 
berland died, and was brought again to 
life. In this interval of death, a young 
man in fhining apparel came and led him, 
without fpeaking, to a valley of infinite 
depth, length, and breadth : one fide was 
formed by a prodigious ftaeet of fire, and the 
oppofite fide filled with hail and ice. Both 
fides were fwarmingwith fouls of departed 
men ; who were for ever in fearch of reft, 
alternately fliifting their fituation to thefe 
extremes of heat and cold. The monk 
fuppofing this place to be hell, was told by 




perfpiculty and facility in his Latin fliyle. But it is void of 
elegance, and often of purity; it fliews with what grace and 
pd'opriety he would have written, had his mind been formed 
on better models. Whoever looks for digeftion of mate- 
rials, difpofition of parts, and accuracy of narration, in this 
writer's hiftorical works, expects what could not exift at 
that time. He has recorded but few civil tranfa6lions : but 
befides that his hiflory profefledly confiders ecclefiafticai 
alfairs, we lliould remember, that the building of a church, 
tiie preferment of an abbot, the canonifation of a martyr, 
and the importation into England of the fliin-bone of an 
apoftle, were neceflarily matters of much more importance 
in Bede's conceptions than victories or revolutions. He is 
fond of minute defcription ; but particularities are the fault 
and often the merit of early hiflorians '. Bede wrote many 

his guide that he was miftaken. The guide 
then led him, greatly terrified with this 
fpeftacle, to a more diftant place, where 
he fays, " I faw on a fudden a darknefs 
■" come on, and every thing was obfcured. 
" When I entered this place I could difcern 
•* no objedl, on account of the encreafing 
*' darknefs, except the countenance and 
" glittering garments of my conduftor. 
*' As we went forward I beheld vafl tor- 
*' rents of flame fpouting upwards from the 
** ground, as from a large well, and falling 
" down into it again. As we came near 
" it my guide fuddenly vanifhed, and left 
*' me alone in the midft of darknefs and 
" this horrible vifion. Deformed and un- 
" couth fpirits arofe from this blazing 
" chafm, and attempted to draw me in 
" with fiery forks." But his guide here 
returned, and they all retired at his ap- 
pearance. Heaven is then defcribed with 
great ftrength of fancy. I have feen an 
old ballad, called the Dead Ma/i's Song, on 
this ftory. And Milton's hell may perhaps 
be taken from this idea. Bed. Hiit. Eccl. 
V. 13. Our hillorian in the next chapter 
relates, that two moll beautiful youths came 
to a perfon lying fick en his death-beJ, 
and offered him a book to read, richly or- 

namented, in which his good aclions were 
recorded. Immediately after this, the 
houfe was furrounded and filled with an 
army of fpirits of moll horrible afpeft. 
One of them, who by the gloom of his 
darkfome countenance appeared to be their 
leader, produced a book, codicem horrenddS 
'vijionis, ct magnitudinis enormis et poJiderii 
p^ene import abiUs, and ordered fome of his 
attendant demons to bring it to the fick 
man. In this were contained all his fins, 
&c. ib. cap. 14. 

■■ An ingenious author, who writes under 
the name of M. de Vigneul Marville, ob- 
ferves, that Bede, " when he fpeaks of the 
" Magi who went to worihip our Saviour, 
" is very particular in the account of their 
" names, age, and refpedive offerings. 
" He fays, that Melchior was old, and 
" had grey hair, with a long beard ; and 
" that it was he who offered gold to 
** Chrift, in acknowledgment of his fove- 
" reignty. That Gafpar, the fecond of 
" the Magi, was young, and had no beard, 
" and that it was he who offered frankin- 
'* cenfe, in recogaitioa of our Lord's di- 
" vinity : and that Balthafar the third, 
" was of a dark complexion, had a large 
" beard, and offered myrrh to our Sa- 
e ♦' viour's 


pieces of Latin poetry. The following verfes from his Me«- 
DiTATio DE DIE JuDicii, a tranflation of which into Saxort 
verfe is now preferved in the library of Bennet college at 
Cambridge', are at leaft well turned and harmonious. 

Inter florigeras foecundi cefpitis herbas, 
Flamine ventorum refonantibus undique ramis \ 

Some of Aldhelm's verfes are exa6lly in this caft, written on- 
the Dedication of the abbey-church at Malmefbury to faint 
Peter and faint Paul. 

Hie celebranda rudis " florefcit gloria templi,. 
Limpida quae facri celebrat vexilla triumphi. 
Hie Petrus et Paulus, tenebrofi lumina mundi, 
Praecipui patres populi qui frena gubernant, 
Carminibus crebris alma celebrantur in aula. 
Claviger o caeli, portam qui pandis in asthra, 
Candida qui meritis recludis limina c^eli, 
Exaudi clemens populorum vota tuorum, 
Marcida qui riguis hume6lant fletibus ora ^. 

The flri(5l and fuperabundant attention of thefe Latin 
poets to profodic rules, on which it was become fafhionable 
to write dida6lic fyftems, made them accurate to excefs in 
the metrical conformation of their hexameters, and produced 
a faultlefs and flowing monotony. Bede died in the monaftery 
of Weremouth, which he never had once quitted, in the 
year 73 5 \ 

" viour's humanity." He is likewife very old piftures and popular reprefentations of 

circumftantial in the defcription of their the /-/"//f Men^s Offering. 

dreffes. Melanges d' I'Hift. et de Lit. ^ Cod. MSS. Ixxix. p. 161. 

Paris, 1725. izmo. torn. iii. p. 283, &c. * Malmlb. apud Whart. ut fupr. p. 8. 

What was more natural than this in fuch " Recent. Newly built. 

awriter andon fuchafubjeft.? In the mean ^ W. Malmfb. ut fupr. Apud Whart. 

time it may be remarked, that this de- p. 8. 

fcription of Bede, taken perhaps from " Cave, ubi fupr. p. 473. Saec. Eico- 

conftant tradition, is now to be feen in the nod. 

I have 


I have already obferved, and from good authorities, that 
* many of thefe Saxon fcholars were fkilled in Greek. Yet 
fcarce any confiderable monuments have defcended to modern 
times, to prove their familiarity with that language. I will, 
however, mention fuch as have occurred to me. Archbithop 
Parker, or rather his learned fcribe Jocelin, affirms, that 
the copy of Homer, and of fome of the other books im- 
ported into England by Archbifhop Theodore, as I have 
above related, remained in his time ^ There is however no 
allufion to Homer, nor any mention made of his name, in 
the writings of the Saxons now exifting ^. In the Bodleian 
library are fome extrai^ts from the books of the Prophets in 
Greek and Latin : the Latin is in Saxon, and the Greek in 
Latino-greek capital chara6lers. A Latino-greek alphabet is 
prefixed. In the fame manufcript is a chapter of Deutero- 
nomy, Greek and Latin, but both are in Saxon chara6lers \ 
In the curious and very valuable library of Bennet college 
in Cambridge, is a very antient copy of Aldhelm de Laude 
ViRGiNiTATis. In it is inferted a fpecimen of Saxon poetry 
full of Latin and Greek words, and at the end of the ma- 
nufcript fome Runic letters occur \ I fufpe6l that their 
Grecian literature was a matter of oflentation rather than 
life. William of Malmefbury, in his life of Aldhelm, cen- 
fures an afFe6lation in the writers of this age ; that they 
were fond of introducing in their Latin compofitions a 
difficult and abflrufe word latinifed from the Greek^ There 
are many inftances of this pedantry in the early charters of 
Dugdale's Monafticon. But it is no where more vifible than 
in the Life of Saint Wilfrid, archbifliop of Canterbury, 
written by Fridegode a monk of Canterbury, in Latin 

y Antiquitat. Brit. p. 80. * NE, D. 19. MSS. membr. 8vo. fol. 

^ See Sect. iii. p. 124. infr. Where it 24. 19. 
is obferved, that Homer is cited by Geof- ^ Cod. MSS. K iz. 

frey of Monmouth. But he is not men- * Ubi fupr. p. 7. 

tioned in Geoffrey's Armoric original. 

e 2 heroics 



heroics, about the year 960 "*. Malmcfbury obferves of this 
author's ftyle, " Latinitatem perofus, Grcecitatem amat, Gras- 
" cula verba frequentat *." Probably to be able to read Greek 
at this time was efteemed a knowledge of that language, 
Eginhart relates, that Charlemagne could fpeak Latin as 
fluently as his native Frankifh : but flightly pafTes over his 
accomplilhment in Greek, by artfully faying, that he un- 
derftood it better than he could pronounce it ^ Nor, by the 
way, was Charlemagne's boafted facility in the Latin fo 
remarkable a prodigy. The Latin language was familiar to 
the Gauls when they were conquered by the Franks 5 for 
they were a province of the Roman empire till the year 485. 
It was the language of their religious offices, their laws, and 
public tranfa6tions. The Franks who conquered the Gauls 
at the period juft mentioned, ftill continued this ufage, 
imagining there was a fuperior dignity in the language of 
imperial Rome : although this incorporation of the Franks, 
with the Gauls greatly corrupted the latinity of the latter, 
and had given it a ftrong tin6lure of barbarity before the 
reign of Charlemagne. But while we are bringing proofs 
which tend to extenuate the notion that Greek was now 
much known or cultivated, it muft not be difTembled, that 
John Erigena, a native of Aire in Scotland, and one of king 
Alfred's firft lecturers at Oxford ^, tranflated into Latin from 
the Greek original four large treatifes of Dionyfius the 
Areopagite^ about the year 860 \ This tranflation, which 

•• Printed by Mabillon, Saec. Benedidlin, 
iii. p, I. P. 169. 

« Geft. Pontific. i. f. 114. 

* Vit. Kar. Magn. p. 30. 

8 Wood Hift. Antiquit. Univ. Oxon. i. 

** This tranflation, with dedications in 
verfe and profe to Charles the Bald, occurs 
twice in the Bodleian library, viz. MSS. 
Muf. 148. And Hyper. Bodl. 148. p. 4. 
feq. See alfo I^aud. 1.59- And in Saint 

John's college Oxford, A. xi. 2 3. Wil- 
liam of Malmelbury fays, that he wrote a 
book entitled, Periphismerismus, (that 
is, riEp (pva-iu(; fxsfcrixi) and adds, that in 
this piece •' a Latinorum tramite deviavit 
" dum in Graecos acriter oculos intcndit." 
Vit. Aldhelm, p. 28. Wharton. Angl. 
Sacr. ii. It was printed at Oxford by 
Gale. Erigena, in one of the dedications 
above-mentioned, fays, that he had tranf- 
lated into Latin ten of Dionyfius's Epiftles. 




IS dedicated to Charles the Bald, abounds with Greek phra?- 
feology and is hardly intelligible to a mere Latin reader. He 
alfo tranflated into Latin the Scholia of faint Maximus oa 
the difficult pafTages of Gregory Nazianzen '. He frequently 
vifited his munificent patron Charles the Bald, and is faid to 
have taken a long journey to Athens, and to have fpent 
many years in iludying not only the Greek but the Arabic 
and Chaldee languages ". 

As to claffic authors, it appears that not many of them^ 
were known or ftudied by our Saxon anceftors. Thofe with. 
which they were moft acquainted, either in profe or verfe, 
feem to have been of the lower empire; writers who, in the 
declenfion of tafte, had fuperfeded the purer and more an- 
tient Roman models, and had been therefore more recently 
and frequently tranfcribed. I have mentioned Alfred's tranf- 
lations of Boethius and Orofius. Prudentius was alfo per- 
haps one of their favorites. lathe Britifh Mufeum there is a 
manufcript copy of that poet's Psycomachia. It is illuflrated 
with drawings of hiftorical figures, each of which have aa 
explanatory legend in Latin and Saxon letters ; the Latin ia 
large red charadlers, and the Saxon in black, of great anti- 
quity '. Prudentius is likewife in Bennet college library at 
Cambridge, tranfcribed in the time of Charles the Bald, with 
leveral Saxon words written into the text ■". Sedulius's 
hymns are in the feme repofitory in Saxon characters, in a 
volume containing other Saxon manufcripts ". Bede fays, 

Hoveden and Matthew Paris have literally 
tranfcribed the words of Malmefbury jull 
cited, and much more, Hov. fol. 234. And 
M. Paris, p. 253. It is doubtful whether 
the Versio Moralium Aristotelis 
is from the Greek : it might be from the 
Arabic. Or whether our author's. See 
Prjefat. Op. nonnull. Oxon. edit, per Gale, 
cum Not, 1 68 1, fol. 

' Printed at Oxford as above. Erigena 
died at Malmefbury, where he had opened 

a fchool in the year 883. Cave, Hift. Lit. 
Ssc. Phot. p. 548. 549. William of 
Malmefbury fays, that Erigena was one of 
the wits of Charles the Bald's table, and 
his conftant companion. Ubi fupr. p. 27. 

^ Spclm. Vit. JEUred. Bale xiv. 32= 
Pitf. p. 168. 

' MSS. Cott. Cleopatr. C. 8. membra 

"> Mifcellan. MSS. M. membran. 

» MSS. S. II. Cod. membran. 



that Aldhelm wrote his book De Virginitate, which is 
both profe and verie, in imitation of the manner of Sedu- 
hus ". We learn from Gregory of Tours, what is not 
foreign to our purpofe to remark, that king Chilperic, who 
began to reign in 562, wrote two books of Latin verfes in 
imitation of SeduUus. But it was without any idea of the 
common quantities ^ A manufcript of this poet in the Bri- 
tifli Mufeum is bound up with Nennius and Felix's Miracles 
OF Saint Guthlac, dedicated no Alfwold king of the Eaft 
Angles, and written both in Latin and Saxon \ But thefe 
daffies were mofl of them read as books of reUgion and mo- 
rality. Yet Aldhelm, in his tra6l de Metrorum Generi- 
Bus, quotes two verfes from the third book of Virgil's 
Georgics ' : and in the Bodleian library we find a manufcript 
of the firfl book of Ovid's Art of Love, in very antient 
Saxon chara6lers, accompanied with a Britifh glofs '. And 
the venerable Bede, having firft invoked the Trinity, thus 
begins a Latin panegyrical hymn on the miraculous virgi- 
nity of Ethildryde. " Let Virgil fing of wars, I celebrate 
** the gifts of peace. My verfes are of chaftity, not of the 
" rape of the adulterefs Helen. I will chant heavenly blef- 
" fings, not the battles of miferable Troy '." Thefe however 
are rare inflances. It was the moft abominable herefy to 
have any concern with the pagan fiftions. The graces of 
compofition were not their obje6ls, and elegance found 
no place amidft their feverer purfuits in philofophy and 

Eccl. Hlft. 19. ing. We have now remaining Saxon ma- 
P Gregor. Turonenf. 1. vi. c. 46. nufcript tranflations of Apuleius de Viri- 

1 MSS. Cotton. Vesp. D. xxi. 8vo. bus Herbarum. They have alfo left a 
' W. Malmefb. Vit. Aldhelm. Wharton. large fyftem of medicine in Saxon, often 

Angl. Sacr. ii. 4. cited by Somner in his Lexicon, under 

» NE. D. 19. racmbr. 8vo. fol. 37. the title of Liber Medicinalis. It 

* Bed. Eccl. Hift. iv. 20. appears by this traft, that they were well 

» Medicine was one of their favorite acquainted with the Latin phyficians and 

fcicnces, being a part of the Arabian learn- naturalifts, Marcellus, Scribonius Largos, 




It is certain that literature was at its height among our 
Saxon anceftors about the eighth century. Thefe happy be-* 
ginnings were almoft entirely owing to the attention of king 
Alfred, who encouraged learning by his own example, by 
founding feminaries of inftru6lion, and by rewarding the 
labours of fcholars. But the efforts of this pious monarch 
were foon blafted by the fupinenefs of his fucceflbrs, the 
incurfions of the Danes, and the diilra61:ion of national 
affairs. Bede, from the eftablifhment of learned bifhops in 
every diocefe, and the univerfal tranquillity which reigned 
over all the provinces of England, when he finifhed his 
ecclefiaflical hiflory, flatters his imagination in anticipating 

Pliny, Cselius Aurelianus, Theodore, Prif- 
«usi &c. MSS. Bibl. Reg. Brit. Muf. 
Cod. membr. ... It is probable that this 
manufcript is of the age of king Alfred. 
Among Hatton's books in the Bodleian li- 
brary, is a Saxon manufcript which has 
been entitled by Junius Medic ina ex 
QuADRuPEDiBus. It is pretended to 
be taken from Idpart, a fabulous king of 
Egypt. It is followed by two eplftles in 
Latin of Evax king of the Arabians to 
Tiberius Cefar, concerning the names and 
virtues of oriental precious flones ufed in 
medicine. Cod. Hatton. ico. membr. 
fol. It is believed to be a manufcript be- 
fore the conqueft. Thefe ideas of a king 
of Egypt, and another of Arabia, and of 
riie ufe of oriental precious ftones in the 
medical art, evidently betray their origin. 
Apuleius's Herbarium occurs in the Bri- 
tish Mufeum in Latin and Saxon, " quod 
*' accepit ab Esculapio et a Chirone 
" Centauro Magistro Achillis." 
Together with the Medicina ex Qua- 
DRUPEDiBus above-mentioned. MSS. 
Cot. ViTEL. C. iii. Cod. membr. fol. iii. 
p. 19. iv. p. 75. It is remarkable that the 
Arabians attribute the invention of Si mi a, 
one of their magical fciences, to Kirun 
or Carjjn, that is Chiron the centaur, 
the mafter of Achilles. See Herbelot. 
Did. Orient. Artie. Simia. p. 1005. 

The Greeks reputed Chiron the in- 
ventor of medicine. His medical books 
are mentioned by many antient writers,, 
particularly by Apuleius Celfus, De Her- 
bis : and Kircher obferves, that Chiron's 
tieatife of Mulomedicina was familiar 
to the Arabians. Oedip. Egypt, torn, iii^ 
p. 68. Lambeccius defcribes a very cu- 
rious and antient manufcript of Diofcorides : 
among the beautiful illuminations with 
which it was enriched, was a fquare pic- 
ture with a gxild ground, on which were 
reprefented the feven antient phyficians,. 
Machaon, Chiron, Niger, Herculides, 
Mantias, Xenocrates, and Pamphilus. P. 
Lambecc. de Bibl. Vindob. lib. ii. p. 525. 
feq. I have mentioned above, Medicina 
EX QuADRupEDiBus. A Greek poem, 
or fragment called Medicina ex Pisci- 
Bus has been attributed to Chiron. It 
was written by Marcellus Sidetas of Pam- 
phylia, a phyfician under Marcus Anto- 
ninus, and is printed by Fabricius. BibL 
Gr i. p. 16. feq. And fee xiii. p. 317. 
The Medicina ex Quadrupedibus 
feems to be the treatife entitled, Medi- 
cina EX Animalibus, under the name 
of Sextus Platonicus, and printed in Ste- 
phens's Medico Artis Principes,. 
p. 684. This was a favorite medical fyf- 
tem of the dark ages. SeeFabric. ibid. xiii. 
395. xii. 613. 



th« mOil advantageous confequences, and triumphantly clofes 
his narrative with this pleafnig prefentiment. The Pi6ls, at 
this period, were at peace with the Saxons or Enghfli, and 
converted to chriflianitv. The Scots Hved contented within 
their own boundary. The Britons or Welfli, from a natural 
enmity, and a diflike to the cathohc inftitution of keeping 
Eafter, fometimes attempted to difturb the national repofe j 
but they were in fome meafure fubfervient to the Saxons. 
Among the Northumbrians, both the nobility and private 
perfons rather chofe their children fhould receive the mo- 
naftic tonfure, than be trained to arms ". 

But a long night of confufion and grofs ignorance fuc- 
ceeded. The principal produ6lions of the mofl eminent 
monafteries for three centuries, were incredible kgends which 
difcovered no marks of invention, unedifying homilies, and 
trite expofitions of the fcriptures. Many bifliops and abbots 
began to confider learning as pernicious to true piety, and 
confounded illiberal ignorance with chriftian fimplicity. 
Leland frequently laments the lofs of libraries deftroyed in 
the Danifli invafions ^ 5ome flight attempts were made for 
reftoring literary purfuits, but with little fuccefs. In the 
tenth century, Ofwald archbifhop of Canterbury, finding the 
monafteries of his province extremely ignorant not only in 
the common elements of _grammar, but even in the canonical 
rules of their refpe6live orders, was obliged to fend into 
France for competent mailers, who might remedy thefe 
evils ^. In the mean time, from perpetual commotions, the 
manners of the people had degenerated from that mildnefs 
which a Hiort interval of peace and letters had introduced, 

* Bede, Eccl. Hift. v. 23. in other countries during the tenth century 

y See Malmcfb. apud Lei. Coll. l. p. 140. have been collefted by Muratori, Antiquit. 

edit. nup. Ital. Med. a;v. iii. 831. ii. 141. And 

'^ Wharton. Angl. Sacr. ii. 201. Many Boulay, Hift. Acad. Parif. i. 288. 

evidences of tlie ignorance which prevailed 



and the national chara6ler had contra6led an air of rudenefs 
and ferocity. 

England at length, in the beginning of the eleventh cen- 
tury, received from the Normans the rudiments of that 
cultivation which it has preferved to the prefent times. 
The Normans v^ere a people who had acquired ideas of 
fplendor and refinement from their refidence in France j and 
the gallantries of their feudal fyftem introduced new magni- 
ficence and elegance among our rough unpolifhed anceflors. 
The conqueror's army was compofed of the flower of the 
Norman nobility j who fharing allotments of land in different 
parts of the new territory, diffufed a general knowledge of 
various improvements entirely unknown in the moft flou- 
rifhing eras of the Saxon government, and gave a more libe- 
ral turn to the manners even of the provincial inhabitants. 
That they brought with them the arts, may yet be feen by 
the caftles and churches which they built on a more extenfive 
and ftately plan '. Literature, in particular, the chief obje6t 
of our prefent refearch, which had long been reduced to the 
moft abje6l condition, appeared with new luftre in confe- 
quence of this important revolution. 

Towards the clofe of the tenth century, an event took 
place, which gave a new and very fortunate turn to the ftate 
of letters in France and Italy. A little before that time, 
there were no fchools in Europe but thofe which belonged to 
the monafteries or epifcopal churches 5 and the monks were 
almoil the only mafters employed to educate the youth in 
the principles of facred and profane erudition. But at the 
commencement of the eleventh century, many learned per- 
fons of the laity, as well as of the clergy, undertook in the 

« This point will be further illuftrated in of Antiquity in various Parts of 

a work now preparing for the prefs, en- England. To which will be prefixed, 

titled, Observations Critical and The History of Architecture in 

Historical, ON Castles, Churches, England. 
Monasteries, and other Monuments 

Vol. I. f moft 



moft capital cities of France and Italy this important charge; 
The Latin verfions of the Greek philofophers from the Ara- 
bic, had now become fo frequent and common, as to fall 
into the hands of the people; and many of thefe new pre- 
ceptors having travelled into Spain with a defign of ftudying 
in the Arabic fchools ^, and comprehending in their courfe of 
inftitution, more numerous and ufeful branches of fcience 
than the monaftic teachers were acquainted with, commu- 
nicated their knowledge in a better method, and taught in^ 
a much more full, perfpicuous, folid, and rational manner. 
Thefe and other beneficial effe6ls, ariftng from this pra6lice 
of admitting others befides ecclefiaftics to the profeflion of 
letters, and the education of youth, were imported into 
England by itieans of the Norman conquefl. 

The conqueror himfelf patronifed and loved letters. He 
filled the bifhopricks and abbacies of England with the moft 
learned of his countrymen, who had been educated at the 
univerfity of Paris, at that time the moft flourifhing fchool 
in Europe. He placed Lanfranc, abbot of the monaftery of 
Saint Stephen at Caen, in the fee of Canterbury j an eminent 
mafter of logic, the fubtleties of which he employed with 
great dexterity in a famous controverfy concerning the real 
prefence. Anfelm, an acute metaphyfician and theologift, 
his immediate fuccefTor in the fame fee, v/as called from the 
government of the abbey of Bee in Normandy. Herman, a 
Norman bifhop of Salifbury, founded a noble library in the 
antient cathedral of that fee ^ Many of the Norman prelates 

* This fafhion continued for a long. time. 
Among many who might here be men- 
tioned was Daniel Merlac» an Englifhman, 
who, in the year 1185, went to Toledo to 
learn mathematics, and brought back with 
him into England feveral books of the 
Arabian philofophy. Wood Antiq. Univ. 
Oxon. i. p. 56. col. i. 

' " Nobilem bibliothecam, comparatis 
•♦ in hoc optimis juxta ac antiquiffimis il- 
** lullrium autorara monumentis, Severiae 

" pofuit." Leiand. Script. Brit. p. 174.. 
He died 1 099. He was fo fond of letters, 
that he did not difdain to bind and illu- 
minate books. Mon, Angl. iii. p. 375. 
Vid. fupr. The old church of Salilbury 
flood within the area of that noble antient 
military work, called Old-cajlle. Leiand 
fays, that he finifhed the church which his 
predeccfTor Herman had begun, and filled 
its chapter with eminent fcholars. 




preferred in England by the conqueror, were polite fcholars. 
Godfrey, prior of Saint Swithin's at Winchefter, a native of 
Cambray, was an elegant Latin epigrammatift, and wrote 
with the fmartnefs and eafe of Martial**. A circumftance, 
which by the way fliews that the literature of the monks at 
this period was of a more liberal caft than that which we 
commonly annex to their chara6ler and profeflion. Geoffrey, 
a learned Norman, was invited from the univerfity of Paris 
to fuperintend the dire6lion of the fchool of the abbey of 
Dunftable j where he compofed a play called the Play of 
Saint Catharine % which was a6led by his fcholars. This 
was perhaps the firft fpe6lacle of the kind that was ever 
attempted, and the firft trace of theatrical reprefentation 
which appeared, in England. Mathew Paris, who firft re- 
cords this anecdote, fays, that Geoffrey borrowed copes from 
the facrift of the neighbouring abbey of faint Alban's to 
drefs his charaiSlers. He was afterwards elefted abbot of 
that opulent monaftery ^ 

'' Camden has cited feveral of his epi- 
grams. Remains, p. 421. edit. 1674. I 
have read all his pieces now remaining. 
The chief of them are, *' Proverbia, 

*t ET Epigrammata Satyrica." 

•' CarminaHistorica, DE Rege Ca- 
** NUTO, Regina Emma, &c." Among 
thefe laft, none of which were ever printed, 
is an eulogy on Walkelin bilhop of Win- 
chefter, and a Norman, who built great 
part of his ftately cathedral, as it now 
Hands, and was biftiop there during God- 
frey's priorate, viz. 

Confilium, virtutis amor, facundia comis, 

Walcheline pater, fixa fuere tibi. 
Correftor juvenum, fenibus documenta mi- 

Exempio vitas paftor utrofque regis. 
Pes fueras claudis, caecis imitabile lumen, 

Portans invalidos, qui cecidere levans. 
Divitiis dominus, facilis largitor earum, 

Dum reficis multos, deficis ipfe tibi, &c. 

Among the Epigrams, the following Is 
not cited by Camden. 

Pauca Titus pretiofa dabat, fed vilia plura : 
Ut meliora habeam, pauca det, oro, 

Thefe pieces are in the Bodleian library, 
MSS. Digb. 65. ut. 112. The whole col- 
lection is certainly worthy of publication. 
I do not mean merely as a curiofity. Le- 
land mentions his epiftles " familiari illo 
" et DULCi ftylo editae." Script. Brit, 
p. 159. Godfrey died 1 107. He was made 
prior of Winchefter, A.D. 1082. Wharton. 
Angl. Sacr. i. 324. He was interred in 
the old chapter-houfc, whofe area now 
makes part of the dean's garden. 

« See infr. Sect. vi. p. 236. 

f Vit. Abbat. ad calc. Hift. p. 56. 
edit. 1639. See alfo Bui. Hift. Acad. 
Parif. ii. 225. 

f 2 



The king hlmfelf gave no fmall countenance to the 
clergy, in fending his fon Henry Beauclerc to the abbey of 
Abingdon, where he was initiated in the fciences under the 
care of the abbot Grymbald, and Farice a phyfician of Ox- 
ford. Robert d'Oilly, conftable of Oxford caflle, was ordered 
to pay for the board of the young prince in the convent, 
which the king himfelf frequently vifited ^ Nor was Wil- 
liam wanting in giving ample revenues to learning : he 
founded the magnificent abbies of Battel and Selby, with 
other fmaller convents. His nobles and their fuccellbrs co- 
operated with this liberal fpirit in ere6ling many monalle- 
ries. Herbert de Lofniga, a monk of Normandy, bifhop of 
Thetford in Norfolk, inftituted and endowed with large 
poffeffions a Benedi6line abbey at Norwich, confifting of 
fixty monks. To mention no more inftances, fuch great 
inftitutions of perfons dedicated to religious and literary 
leifure, while they diffufed an air of civility, and foftened 
the manners of the people in their refpe6live circles, muft 
have afforded powerful invitations to ftudious purfuits, and 
have confequently added no fmall degree of flability to the 
interefts of learning. 

By thefe obfervations, and others which have occurred in 
the courfe of our enqviiries, concerning the utility of monaf- 
teries, I certainly do not mean to defend the monadic fyilem. 
We are apt to pafs a general and undiftinguifliing cenfure 
on the monks, and to fuppofe their foundations to have been 
the retreats of illiterate indolence at every period of time. 
But it (hould be remembered, that our univerlities about 
the time of the Norman conquefl, were in a low condition : 
while the monafteries contained ample endowments and ac- 
commodations, and were the only refpe6lablc feminaries of 
literature. A few centuries afterwards, as our univerfities 
began to flourifli, in confequence of the dillin6lions and 

8 Hift. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. i. 46. 




honours which they conferred on fcholars, the eftablifhment 
of colleges, the introduction of new fyftems of fcience, 
the univerfal ardour which prevailed of breeding almoft all 
perfons to letters, and the abolition of that exclufive right 
of teaching which the ecclefiaftics had fo long claimed -, the 
monaileries of courfe grew inattentive to ftudies, which were 
more flrongly encouraged, more commodioufly purfued, and 
more fuccefsfully cultivated, in other places : they gradually 
became contemptible and unfafhionable as nurferies of learn- 
ing, and their fraternities degenerated into floth and igno- 
rance. The moft eminent fcholars which England produced, 
both in philofophy and humanity, before and even below 
the twelfth century, were educated in our religious houfes. 
The encouragement given in the Englifli monafteries for 
tranfcribing books, the fcarcity of which in the middle ages 
we have before remarked, was very confiderable. In every 
great abbey there was an apartment called the Scriptorium : 
w^here many writers were conftantly bufied in tranfcribing 
not only the fervice-books for the choir, but books for the 
library ^. The Scriptorium of Saint Alban's abbey was 
built by abbot Paulin, a Norman, v/ho ordered many vo- 
lumes to be written there, about the year 1080. Archbifliop 
Lanfranc furnifhed the copies '. Eftates were often granted 
for the fupport of the Scriptorium. That at Saintedmonlbury 
was endowed with two mills ". The tythes of a reclory were 
appropriated to the cathedral convent of faint Swithin at 

^ This was alfo a praftice in the mo- 
nafteries abroad ; in which the boys and 
novices were chiefly employed. But the 
miffaJs and bibles were ordered to be writ- 
ten by monks of mature age and difcre- 
tion. Du Frefne, Glofl*. Lat. Med. V. 
Scriptorium. And Praefat. f. vi. edit, 
prim. See alfo Monaft. Anglic, ii. 726. 
And references in the windows of the li- 
brary of faint Alban's abbey. Ibid. 183. 
At the foundation of Winchefter college, 

one or more tranfcribers were hired and 
employed by the founder to make books for 
the library. They tranfcribed and took 
their commons within the college, as ap- 
pears by computations of expences on their 
account now remaining. 

» Mat. Paris, p. 1003. See Leiand, 
Script. Brit. p. 166. 

^ Regiflr. Nigr. S. Edmund. Abbat. 
fol. 2 2^. 




Winchefter, ad libros trajifcribendos, in the year 1 171 ". Many 
inflances of this fpecies of benefaftion occur from the tenth 
century. Nigel, in the year 1160, gave the monks of Ely 
two churches, ad libros fad endos \ This employment appears 
to have been diligently praclifed at Croyland ; for Ingulphus 
relates, that when the library of that convent was burnt in the 
year 1091, feven hundred volumes were confumed ". Fifty- 
eight volumes were tranfcribed at Glaftonbury, during the 
government of one abbot, about the year 1300 °. And in the 
library of this monaftery, the richeft in England, there were 
upwards of four hundred volumes in the year 1248 ^, More 
than eighty books were thus tranfcribed for faint Alban's . 
abbey, by abbot Wethamflede, who died about 1440 ^ Some 
of thefe inftances are rather below our period j but they 
illuflrate the fubje^l, and are properly connected with thofe 
of more antient date. I find fome of the claffics written in 
the Englifh monafteries very early. Henry, a Benedi6line 
monk of Hyde-abbey near Winchefter, tranfcribed in the 
year 1178, Terence, Boethius*", Suetonius', and Claudian. 
Of thefe he formed one book, illuminating the initials, and 

^ Regiftr. Joh. Pontiflar. epifcop. Wint. 
f. 164. MS. 

See Mon. Angl. i. 131. Heming. 
Chartul. per Hearne, p. 265. Compare 
alfo Godwin, de Prsful. p 121. edit. 16 16. 

' Wharton, Angl. Sacr. i. p. 619. See 
alfo, p. 634, and 278. Hearne has pub- 
lifhed a grant from R. De Fafton to Brom- 
holm abbey in Norfolk, of \zd. per an- 
num, a rent-charge on his lands, to keep 
their books in repair, ad emendacionem libro- 
rum. Ad. Domerham, Num. iii. 

" Hift. Croyland. Dec. Script, p. 98. 

" Tanner, Not. Mon. edit. 8vo. Pref. 

P See Joann. Glafton. ut infr. And 
Leland, Script. Brit. p. 131. 

1 Weaver, Fun. Mon. p. 566. 

' It is obfervable, that Boethius in his 
metres conftantly follows Seneca's trage- 
dies. I believe there is not one form of 

verfe in Boethius but what is taken from 

* Suetonius is frequently cited by the 
writers of the middle ages, particularly by 
Vincentius Bellovacenfis. Specul. Hift. 
lib. X. c. 67. And Rabanus Maurus, Art. 
Gram. Op. torn. i. p. 46. Lupus, abbot of 
Ferrieres, about the year 838, a learned phi- 
lofophical writer, educated under Rabanus 
Maurus, defires abbot Marquard to fend 
him Suetonius, On the Cajars, *' in duos 
" nee magnos codices divifum." Epiftol. 
Lup. Ferrarienf. xcix. Apud Andr. Du 
Chefne, Script. Rer. Franc, torn. ii. p. 726. 
Ifidorus Hifpalenfis, a bifhop of the feventh 
century, gives the origin of Poetry from 
Suetonius, Origin, viii. 7. Chaucer's tale 
of Nero in the Monke's Tal^, is taken 
from Suetonius, " as tellith us Suetonius." 
V. 491. p. 164. edit. Urr. 




forming the brazen bofTes of the covers with his own 
hands ". But this abbot had more devotion than tafte : 
for he exchanged this manufcript a few years afterwards 
for four miflals, the Legend of faint Chriftopher, and faint 
Gregory's Pastoral Care, "with the prior of the neighbour- 
ing cathedral convent ''. Benedi6^, abbot of Peterborough, 
author of the Latin chronicle of king Henry the fecond,, 
amongfl: a great variety of fcholaftic and theological treatifes, 
tranfcribed Seneca's epiftles and tragedies ", Terence, Martial ^y 
and Claudian, to which I will add Gesta Alexandri % 
about the year i i8o *. In a catalogue of the '' books of the 

" " Suis manibus apices Uterarum artifi- 
*' ciofe pinxit et illuminavit,.nec non'Sereos 
** umbones in tegminibus appinxit." MS. 
Regiftr. Priorat. S. Switlun, Winton. Qua- 
tern. . . Li Archiv. Wulvef. Many of 
the monks were Ikilful illuminators. They 
were alfo taught to bind books. In the 
year 1277, thefe conftitutions were given 
to the Benedidline monaileries of the pro- 
vince of Canterbury. " Abbates monachos 
*' fuos clauftrales, loco operis manualis, 
** fecundum fuam habilitatem Cccteris oc- 
*' cupationibus deputent: in fludendo, li- 
" bros fcribendo, corrigendo, illuminando, 
" ligando." Capit. Gen. Ord. Benediftin. 
Provinc. Cant. 1277. apud MSS. Br. 
Twyne, j?. p. 272. archiv. Oxon. 

^ Ibid. 

'^ Nicholas Antonius. fays, that Nicholas 
Franeth, a Dominican, illuftrated Seneca's 
tragedies with a glofs, foon after the year 
1300. Bibl. Vet. Hifpan. apud Fabric. 
Bibl. Lat. lib. ii. c. 9. He means Nicholas 
Trivet, an Englilh Dominican, author of 
the Annals publifhed by Hearne. 

y John of Salifbury calls Martial Cocus, 
Policrat. vi. 3. As do feveral writers of the 
middle ages. Martial is cited by Jerom of 
Padua, a Latin poet and phyfician, who 
flourifhed about the year 1 300. See Chrif- 
tian. Daumii Not. ad Catonis Diftich. p. 
140. One of the two famous manufcripts 
of Terence in the Vatican, is faid to have 
been written in the time, perhaps under the 

encouragement, of Charlemagne ; and to 
have been compared with the more anlient 
copies by Calliopius Scholafticus. Fon- 
tanin. Vindic. Antiquit. Diplomat, p. 37.. 
Sch'AaJiicus means a mailer in the ecclefiaf- 
tical fchools. Engelbert, abbot of Tre- 
voux, a writer of the tenth century, men- 
tions Terentius Poeta, but in fuch a man- 
ner as Ihews he had but little or no know- 
ledge of him. He confounds this poet 
with. Terentius the Roman fenator, whom 
Scipio delivered from prifon at Carthage, 
and brought to Rome. BibL Patr. torn. 
XXV. edit. Lugd. p. 370. 

^ See Sect. iii. infr. p. 128. 

^ SwafFham, Hift. Csnob. Burg. ii. p, 
97. per Jof. Sparke. " Epiftolas Senecae- 
" cum aliis Senecis in uno volumine, Mar- 
*' tialis totus et Terentius in uno vo!u- 
*' mine," &c. Sub Tit. De Libris ejus. 
He died in 1 193. In the library of Peter- 
borough abbey, at the diflblution, there 
were one thoufand and feven hundred books 
in manufcript. Gunton's Feterb. p. 173. 

'' See Chron.. Joh. Glafton. edit. Hearne,. 
Oxon. 1726. viz. Niwierus Librorum Glaf- 
tonienjis ecclejite qui fuerunt de libraria. 
anno grades, M.CC.XL.vii. p. 423. Le- 
land, who vifited all the monaileries juil 
before their diflblution, feems to have been 
llruck with the venerable air and ampli-. 
tude of this room. Script. Brit. p. 196. 
See what is faid of the monaftery libraries 




library of Glaftonbury we find Livy ", Salluft % Seneca, 
Tully De Senectute and Amicitia ^ Virgil, Perfius, and 
Claudian, in the year 1248. Among the royal manufcripts 
of the Britifli Mufeum, is one of the twelve books of 
Statius's Thebaid, fuppofed to have been written in the tenth 
century, which once belonged to the cathedral convent of 
Rochefler \ And another of Virgil's Eneid, written in the 
thirteenth, which came from the library of faint Auftin's 
at Canterbury ^ WalUngford, abbot of faint Alban's, gave 
or fold from the library of that monaftery to Richard of 
Bury, bifhop of Durham, author of the Philobiblon, and 
a great collector of books, Terence, Virgil, Quintilian, and 
Jerom againil Rufinus, together with thirty-two other vo- 
lumes valued at fifty pounds of filver ^ The fcarcity of 

^ It is pretended, that Gregory the Great, 
in the year 580, ordered all the manufcripts 
of Livy to be burnt which could be found, 
as a writer who enforced the doftrine of 
prodigies. By the way, Livy himfelf often 
infinuates his difbelief of thofe fupcrfti- 
tions. He ftudies to relate the mod ridi- 
culous portents ; and he only meant, when 
it came in his way, to record the credulity 
of the people, not to propagate a belief of 
fuch abfurdities. It was the fuperftition of 
the people, not of the hiftorian. Antonio 
Beccatelli is faid to have purchafed of Pog- 
gius a beautiful manufcript of Livy, for 
which he gave the latter a large field, in 
the year 1455. Gallaef. De Bibliothecis, 
p. 186. See Liron, Singularites Hift. et 
Litt. torn. i. p. ]66. 

•^ Fabricius mentions two manufcripts of 
Salluft, one written in the year 1 178, and 
the other in the year 900. Bibl. Lat. 
L. i. c. 9. Salluft is cited by a Byzantine 
writer, Joannes Antiochenus, of an early 
century. Excerpt. Peirefc. p. 393. Mr. 
Hume fays, that Salluft's larger hiftory is 
cited by Fitz-Stephens, in his defcription 
of London. Hift. Engl. ii. 440. 4to. edit. 

'^ Paulus Jovius fays, that Poggius, about 
the year 1420, firft brought Tully's hooks 
De Finihiis and De Legibus into Italy, tran- 
fcribcd by himfelf from other manufcripts. 

Voir. Hift. Lat. p. 550. About the fame 
time Brutus de Claris Oratoribus, and 
fome of the Rhetorical pieces, with a com- 
plete copy of Ds Oratcre, were difcovered 
and circulated by Flavius Blondus, and his 
friends. Flav. Blond. Ital. Illuftrat. p. 346. 
Leland fays, that William Selling, a monk 
of Canterbury, about 1480, brought with 
him from Italy Cicero's book De Republican 
but that it was burnt with other manufcripts. 
Script. Brit. Cellingus. 

^ 15 C. X. 1. 

^ 15B. vi. 

? Vit. Abbat. S. Albani. Brit. Muf. MSB. 
Cotton. Claud. E. iv. In the royal m.anu- 
fcripts in John of Salift)ury's Ententicus, 
there is written, " Hunc librum fecit do- 
" minus Symon abbas S. Albani : quern 
" poftca venditum domino Ricardo de 
" Bury, epifcopo Dunelmenfi emit Mi- 
" chael abbas St. Albani ab executoribus 
" praedifti epifcopi, A. D. 1345." MSS. 
13 D. iv. 3. Richard de Bury, otherwife 
called Richard Aungervylle, is faid to have 
alone poffefled more books than all the bi- 
fhops of England together. Befides the 
fixed libraries which he had formed in his 
feveral palaces, the floor of his common 
apartment was fo covered with books, that 
thofe who entered could not with due re- 
verence approach his prefence. Gul. Cham- 




parchment undoubtedly prevented the tranfcription of man^r 
other books in thefe focieties. About the year 1 1 20, one 
mafter Hugh, being appointed by the convent of Saint- 
edmondfbury in Suffolk to write and illuminate a grand 
copy of the bible for their library, could procure no parch- 
ment for this purpofe in England ''. 

In confequence of the tafle for letters and liberal ftudies 
introduced by the Normans, many of the monks became 
almoil as good critics as catholics ; and not only in France 
but in England, a great variety of Latin writers, who lludied 
the elegancies of flyle, and the arts of claffical compofition, 
appeared foon after the Norman conqueft. A view of the 
writers of this clafs who flourifhed in England for the two 

bre, Contin. Hift. Dunelm. apud Whart. 
Angl. Sacr. i. 765. He kept binders, il- 
luminators, and writers in his palaces. 
" Antiquariorum, fcriptorum, correftorum, 
** colligatorum, illuminatorum, &c." Phi- 
lobibl. cap. viii. p. 34.. edit. 1599. Petrarch 
lays, that he had once a conversation with 
Aungervylle, concerning the ifland called 
by the antients Thule, whom he calls Fi- 
rum ardent is ingenii. Petrarch, Epift. i. 3. 
His book entitled, Philobiblon, or De 
Amove librorum et injVitutione Bibliotheae, 
fuppofed to be really written by Robert 
Holcott a Dominican friar, was finifhed in 
his manor of Aulkland, A. D. 1343. He 
founded a library at Oxford : and it is re- 
markable, that in the book above-men- 
tioned, he apologifes for admitting the 
poets into his colleftion. " ^are non ne- 

*' gUximus ? A.^\l\.A5 POETARUM." Cap. 

xiii. p. 43. xviii. p. 57. xix. 58. But he 
is more complaifant to the prejudices of his 
age, where he fays, that the laity are un- 
worthy to be admitted to any commerce 
with books, " Laid omnium librorum com- 
'* miintoyie funt indigniy Cap. xvii. p. 55. 
He prefers books of the liberal arts to trea- 
tifes in law. Cap. xi. p. 41. He laments 
that good literature had entirely ceafed in 
the univerfity of Paris. Cap. ix. p. 38. 
He admits Panfittos exiguos into his library. 
Cap. viii. 30. He employed Stationarios 

Vol. I. 

and LihrarioSf not only in England, but in 
France, Italy, and Germany. Cap. x. p. 
34. He regrets the total ignorance of the 
Greek language ; but adds, that he has 
provided for the ftudents of his library both 
Greek and Hebrew grammars. Ibid. p. 40. 
He calls Paris the paradife of the --worldf 
and fays, that he purchafed there a variety 
of invaluable volumes in all fciences, which 
yet were negledled and perifhing. Cap. viii. 
p. 3 1 . While chancellor and treafurer of 
England, inftead of the ufual prefents and 
new-year's gifts appendant to his office, he 
chofe to receive thofe perquifites in books. 
By the favour of Edward the third he gained 
accefs to the libraries of the moll capital 
monafteries ; where he (hook off the dull 
from volumes preferved in chelts and prefTes 
which had not been opened for many ages. 
Ibid. 29, 30. 

'' Monaft. Angl. i. p. 200. In the great 
revenue-roll of one year of John Gerveys, 
bifhop of Winchefter, I find expended " In 
" parcheamento empto ad rotulos, vj.'* 
This was a confiderable fum for fuch a 
commodity in the year 1266. But as the 
quantity or number of the rolls is not fpe- 
cified, no piecife conclullon can be drawn. 
Comp. MS. membran. in archiv. Wulvef. 
V/inton. Compare Auderfon, Comm. i. 
153. fub ann. 1313. 





fubfequent centuries, till the reftlefs fpirlt of novelty brought 
on an attention to other ftudies, necefiarily follows from 
what has been advanced, and naturally forms the conclufion 
of our prefent inveftigation. 

Soon after the accefiion of the conqueror, John commonly 
called Joannes Grammaticus, having fludied polite literature 
at Paris, which not only from the Norman connexion, 
but from the credit of its profefTors, became the fafliionable 
univerfity of our countrymen, was employed in educating 
the fons of the Norman and Englifh nobility '. He wrote 
an explanation of Ovid's Metamorphofes ", and a treatife on 
the art of metre or verification '. Among the manufcripts 
of the library of New College in Oxford, I have feen a book 
of Latin poetry, and many pieces in Greek, attributed to this 
writer". He flouriflied about the year 1070. In the reign 
of Henry the firfl, Laurence, prior of the church of Durham, 
wrote nine books of Latin elegies. But Leland, who had 
read all his works, prefers his compofitions in oratory; and 
adds, that for an improvement in rhetoric and eloquence, he 
frequently exercifed his talents in framing Latin defences on. 
dubious cafes which occurred among his friends. He likewife,. 
amongft a variety of other elaborate pieces on faints, confef- 
fors, and holy virgins, in which he humoured the times and 
his profeffion, compofed a critical treatife on the method of 
writing Epiftles, which appears to have been a favourite 

' See Bale, iv. 40. 

'' Integument a fuperOvidil Metamorphofes. 
MSS. Bibl. Bodl. fup. A, i . Art. 86. Where 
it is given to Johannes Guallenfis, a Fran- 
cifcan friar of Oxford, and afterwards a 
ftudent at Paris. It is alfo MSS. Digb. 
104. fol. 323. The fame piece is extant 
under the name of this latter John, entitled, 
Expojitionesji've moralitates in Lib. I . Meta- 
morphoj'eos Jive Fabularum, l£c. Printed at 
Paris 1599. But this Johannes Guallenfis 
feems to have been chiefly a philofopher 
and theologift. He flouriihed about A.D. 

1250. Alexander Necham wrote in Meta-^ 
morphofin 0-vidii. Tann. Bibl. p. 540. 

^ Another title of this piece is, Poetria 
magna f oh anrAs Anglici, &c. Cantab. MSS^ 
More, 121. It is both in profe and verfe. 
He begins with this panegyric on the uni- 
verfity of Paris. " Parifiana jubar difFundit 
" gloria clerus." He likewife wrote Com' 
pendium Gramynatices. 

•» MSS. Bibl. Coll. Nov. Oxon. 236. 
237. But thefe are faid to belong to 
Joannes Philoponus. See Phot, Bibl. Cod, 
Ixxv. Cave, p. 441. edit. 1. 




fa bj e6l ". He died in 1154**. About the fame time Robert 
Dunflable, a monk of Saint Alban's, wrote an elegant Latin 
poem in elegiac verfe, containing two books ^y on the life of 
Saint Alban \ The firft book is opened thus : 

Albani celebrem coelo terrifque triumphum 
Ruminat inculto carmine Clio rudis. 

We are not to expe6l I.eonine rhymes in thefe writers, 
which became fafhionable fome years afterwards '. Their 

" See what is faid of John Hanvill below. 
" Lei. Script. Brit. p. 204. 205. 
P It is a long poem, containing thirteen 
hundred and fixty lines. 

^ In the Britifh Mufeum, MSS. Cott. J u L . 
D. iii. 2. Claud. E. 4. There are mere 
of his Latin poems on facred fubjeds in 
the Britifh Mufeum. But moft of them are 
of an inferior composition, and, as I fup- 
pofe, of another hand. 

■■ Leonine verfes are faid to have been 
invented and firll ufed by a French monk of 
Saint Viftor at Marfeilles, named Leoninus, 
or Leonine, about the year 1 1 3 5 . Pafquier, 
Recherch. de la France, vii. 2. p. 596. 3. 
p. 600. It is however certain, that rhymed 
Latin verfes were in ufe much earlier. I 
have before obferved, that the Schola Saler- 
nitana was publiihed j 1 00. See Maffieu, 
Hift. Fr. Poef. p. 77. Fauchett, Rec. p. 52. 
76. feq. And I have feen a Latin poem 
of four hundred lines, " Moyfis Mutii Ber- 
" gomatis de rebus Bergomenfibus, Jufti- 
" niani hujus nominis fecundi Byzantii 
** Imperatoris juflTu confcriptum, anno a 
" falute noflra 707." The author was the 
emperor's fcribe or fecretary. It begins 
thus : 

Alme Deus, reftor qui mundi regna gu- 

Nee finis abfque modo fedes fluitare fu- 


It is at the end of" Achillis Mutii theatrum. 
Bergomi, typis Comini Venturac, 1596." 
Pelloutier has given a very ea/ly fpecimen 
jofXatin Rhymes. Mem. fur la Lang. Celt. 

part i. vol. i. ch. xii. p. 20. He quotes the 
writer of the life of S. Faron, who relates, 
that Clotarius the fecond, having conquered 
the Saxons in the beginning of the feventh 
century, commanded a Latin panegyrical 
fong to be compofed on that occafion, v/hich 
was fung all over France. It is fomewhat 
in the meafure of their vernacular poetry, 
at that time made to be fung to the harp, 
and begins with this ftanza. 

De Clotario eft canere rege Francorum 
Qui ivit pugnare cum gente Saxonum 
Quam graviter proveniffet miflis Saxonum 
Si non fuiflet inclitus Faro de gente Bur- 

Latin rhymes feem to have been firft ufed 
in the church-hymns. But Leonine verfes 
are properly the Roman hexameters or pen- 
tameters rhymed. And it is not improbable 
that they took their name from the monk 
abovementioned, who was the moll popular 
and almoft only Latin poet of his time in 
France. He wrote many Latin pieces not 
in rhyme, and in a good ftyle of Latin ver- 
fification. Particularly a Latin heroic poem 
in twelve books, containing the hiftory of 
the bible from the creation of the v/orld to 
the ftory of Ruth. Alfo fome elegies, 
which have a tolerable degree of clalTic 
purity. Some fuppofe, that pope Leo the 
fecond, about the year 680, a great reformer 
of the chants and hymns of the church, in- 
vented this fort of verfe. 

It is remarkable, thatBede who lived in 

the eighth century, in his book de Arte 

Metric A, does not feem to have known 

g 2 that 



verfes are of a higher caft, and have a claffical turn. The 
following line, which begins the fecond book, is remarkably 
flowing and harmonious, and much in the manner of, 

Pieridum ftudiis clauftri laxare rigorem. 

Smoothnefs of verfification was an excellence which, like 
their Saxon predeceffors, they ftudied to a fault. Henry of 
Huntingdon, commonly known and celebrated as an hifto- 
rian, was likewife a terfe and polite Latin poet of this pe- 
riod. He was educated under Alcuine of Anjou, a canon 
of Lincoln cathedral. His principal patrons were Aldwin 
and Reginald, both Normans, and abbots of Ramfey. His 
turn for poetry did not hinder his arriving to the dignity of 
an archdeacon. Leland mentions eight books of his epi- 
grams, amatorial verfss ', and poems on philofophical fub- 
jefts \ The proem to his book De Herbis, has this elegant 

Vatum magne parens, herbarum Phoebe repertor, 
Vofque, quibus refonant Tempe jocofa, deae ! 

Si mihi ferta prius hedera florente paraftis, 
Ecce meos flores, ferta parate, fero. 

that rhyme was a common ornament of the 
church hymns of his time, many of which 
he quotes. See Opp. torn. i. 34. cap. pe- 
nult. But this chapter, 1 think, is all 
taken from Marius Viftorinus, a much older 
writer. The hymns which Bede quotes are 
extremely barbarous, confifting of a modu- 
lated ftrudture, or a certain number of feet 
without quantity ; like the odes of the 
minftrels or fcalds of that age. " Ut funt, 
*' he fays, carroina yulgarium poeta- 
*' RUM." In the mean time we mull not 
forget, that the early French troubadours 
mention a fort of rhyme in their vernacular 

poetry partly dlflinguifhed from the com- 
mon fpecies, which they call Leonine or 
Leonime. Thus Gualtier Arbalellrier de 
Belle-perche, in the beginning of his ro- 
mance of Judas Maccabeus, written before 
the year 1280. 

Je ne di pas k' aucun biau dit 
Ni mette par faire la ryme 
Ou confonante OU leonime. 

But enough has been faid on a fubjeft of 
fo little importance. 

* See Wharton, Angl. Sacr. ii. 29. 

* Lei. Script. Brit. p. 197. 



But Leland appears to have been mofl pleafed with Henry's 
poetical epiftle to Elfleda, the daughter of Alfred ". In the 
Bodleian library, is a manufcript Latin poem of this writer, 
on the death of king Stephen, and the arrival of Henry the 
fecond in England, which is by no means contemptible ''.. 
He occurs as a witnefs to the charter of the monaftery of 
Sautree in the year 1147'. Geoffrey of Monmouth was 
bifliop of Saint Afaph in the year 1152 ^ He was indefa- 
tigable in his enquiries after Britifh antiquity j and was 
patronifed and aflifted in this purfuit by Walter, archdeacon 
of Oxford, a diligent antiquarian, and Alexander, bifliop of 
Lincoln ^. His credulity as an hiflorian has been defervedly 
cenlured : but fabulous hiflories were then the faftiion, and 
he well knew the recommendation his work would receive 
from comprehending all the popular traditions \ His lati- 
nity rifes far above mediocrity, and his Latin poem on Mer- 
lin is much applauded by Leland**. 

We mufl not judge of the general flate of fociety by the 
more ingenious and dignified churchmen of this period ; who 
ieem to have furpaffed by the mofl difproportionate degrees 
in point of knowledge, all other members of the commu- 
nity. Thomas of Becket, who belongs to the twelfth cen- 
tury, and his friends, in their epiflles, dilVmguifli each other 
by the appellation of philolbphers, in the courfe of their 
correfpondence '. By the prefent diffufion of literature, even^ 
thofe who are illiterate are yet fo intelligent as to fland more 
on a level with men of profelTed fcience and knowledge j. 
but the learned ecclefiaflics of thofe times, as is evident. 

" Ut fupr. * Leland, Script. Brit. p. 190.. 

^^ MSS. Digb, 65. fol. 27. His writings a See Sect. iii. infr. p. 124. 

are numerous, and of various kinds. In v t 1 -n •.•ru tv/t r iv/rcc r> .. 

'r ■ •» 11 ^u ^n,^f^^A ^^.^..« ;c o In the Bntifh Mufeum, MSS. Lott. 

rnmty college library at Oxford there is a » • 17 t? • 

r ^ r 1- 1 1 r» ■ n4 w TiT. A. XIX. VesPAS. E. IV. 

fine copy of his book De imagine Mundt. 

MSS. Cod. 64.. pergamen. This is a very <= See Quadrilog. Vit. T. Becket, BruxclL 

common manufcript. 1682. 410. And Concil. Mag. Brit, et 

* Wharton, Ang. Sacr. ii. 872. Hib. torn. i. p. 441. Many of ihefe epif- 

y Wharton, Ecclef. Aflav. p. 306. ties are Hill in manufcript. 




-from many paiTages in their writings, appear, and not with-- 
out reafon, to have confidered the reft of the world as totally 
immerfed in ignorance and barbarity. A moft diftinguifhed 
ornament of this age was John of Salifbury ^ His ftyle has 
a remarkable elegance and energy. His Policraticon is 
an extremely pleafant mifcellany ; replete with erudition, 
and a judgment of men and things, which properly belongs 
to a more fenfible and reflefting period. His familiar ac- 
quaintance with the claffics, appears not only from the 
happy faciUty of his language, but from the many citations 
of the pureft Roman authors, with which his works are 
perpetually interfperfed. Montfaucon aflerts, that fome parts 
of the fupplement to Petronius, publifhed as a genuine and 
valuable difcovery a few years ago, but fnice fuppofed to be 
fpurious, are quoted in the Policraticon ^ He was an 
iiluftrious rival of Peter of Blois, and the friend of many 
learned foreigners \ I have not feen any fpecimens of his 
Latin poetry " ; but an able judge has pronounced, that no- 
thing can be more eafy, finifhed, and flowing than his 
verfes ^ He was promoted to high ftations in the church 
by Henry the fecond, whofe court was crouded with fcho- 
lars, and almoft equalled that of his cotemporary William 
king of Sicily, in the fplendor which it derived from encou- 
raging erudition, and afTembling the learned of various 
countries ^ Eadmer was a monk of Canterbury, and endeared 

'' " Studuit in Italia omnium bonarum 
*' artium facile poft Graeciam parente." 
Leiand. Script. Brit. p. 207. But he like- 
wife fpent fome time at Oxford. Policrat. 
viii. 22. 

" Bibl. MSS. There is an allufion to the 
Policraticon in the Roman de la Rose. 

Et verras en PoLicRATiciUE. v. 7056. 

■' Lei. ibid. 

' Except the fable of the belly and 
members in long and fhort. Fabric. Med. 
^v. iv. p. 877. 

' Lei. ut fupr. p. 207. 

E See Leiand, Script. Brit. p. 2 1 o. Henry 
the fecond fent Gualterus, Ityled An g Li- 
eu s, his chaplain, into Sicily, to inftruft 
William king of Sicily in literature. Wil- 
liam was fo pleafed with his mafter, that 
he made him archbifliop of Palermo. Bale, 
xiii. J2' He died in 1177. Peter of Blois 
was Quaker's coadjutor ; and he tells us, 
that he taught William the rudiments 
" 'vcrfijicaturia: artls ct literatcria.''^ Epill. 
Petr. Blefenf ad Gualt. Pitts mentions a 
piece of Gualterus De linguae Latin<£ rudi- 
vieittis, p. 141. There is a William of 
Blois, cotemporary with Peter and his bro- 



by the brilliancy of his genius, and the variety of his litera- 
ture, to Anfelm, archbifhop of that fee \ He was an elegant 
writer of hiftory, but exceeded in the artifices of compofi- 
tion, and the choice of matter, by his cotemporary William 
of MalmeibuVy. The latter was a monk of Malmefbury, 
and it reflefts no fmall honour on his fraternity that they 
ele6led him their librarian'. His merits as an hiftorian have 
been juftly difplayed and recommended by lord Lyttelton ''. 
But his abilities were not confined to profe. He wrote 
many pieces of Latin poetry j and it is remarkable, that 
almoft all the profelled writers in profe of this age made 
experiments in verfe. His patron was Robert earl of Glo- 
cefler; who, amidft the violent civil commotions which 
difquieted the reign of king Stephen, found leifure and 
opportunity to protect and promote literary merit '. Till 
Malmefbury's works appeared, Bede had been the chief and 
principal writer of Englifh hiftory. But a general fpirit of 
writing hiftory, owing to that curiofity which more polifhed 
manners introduce, to an acquaintance with the antient 
hiftorians, and to the improved knowledge of a language in 
which facts could be recorded with grace and dignity, was 
now prevailing. Befides thofe I have mentioned, Simeon of 
Durham, Roger Hoveden, and Benedict abbot of Peterbo- 
rough, are hiftorians whofe narratives have a liberal caft, and. 

ther, whom I mention here, as he appears 
to have written what were called Comoedice 
et Tragcedia, and 10 have been preferred 
to an abbacy in Sicily. [See Sect. vi. inr". 
p. 234.] Peter mentions this William in 
his epiftles, " Illud nobile ingenium fra- 
" tris mei magiilri Gulielmi, quandoque in 
" fcribendis Comcediis et Tragoediis qua- 
♦' dam occupalione fervili degenerans, &c." 
Epift. Ixxvi. And again, to the faid Wil- 
liam, " Nomen veftrum diuturniore me- 
" moria quam quatuor abbatiae commenda- 
* * bile redden t Tragoedia vellra de F l a u r a 
** et Marco, verfus de Puiice et 

*' MuscA, Comcedia veltra de Alda, 
" &c." JEpift. xciii. 

^ Leland, Script. Brit. p. 178." There 
is a poem De Laudibus Anselmi, and 
an epicedion on that prelate, commonly 
afcribed to Eadmer. See Fabric. Bibl. 
Med. Lat. ii. p. 210. feq, Leland doubts 
whether thefe pieces belong to him or to 
William of Chefter, a learned monk, pa- 
tronifed by Anfelm. Script. Brit. p. 185. 

' Lei. p. 195. But fee Wharton, Angl. 
Sacr. ii. Prsf p. xii. 

'' In his Hiilory of Henry the fecond. . 

' See Cave, Hiit. Lit. p. ^6i, 



whofe details rife far above the dull uninterefling precifion 
of patient annalifts and regular chronologers. John Hanvill, 
a monk of Saint Alban's, about the year 1190, fludied rhe- 
toric at Paris, and was diftinguiihed for his tafte even among 
the numerous and polite fcholars of that flourifliing femi- 
nary "*. His Architrenius is a learned, ingenious, and 
very entertaining performance. It is a long Latin poem in 
nine books, dedicated to Walter bifhop of Rouen. The 
delign of the work may be partly conjeflured from its af- 
fefted Greek title : but it is, on the whole, a mixture of 
fatire and panegyric on public vice and virtue, with fome 
hiflorical digreflions. In the exordium is the following ner^ 
vous and fpirited addrefs. 

Tu Cyrrhae latices noftrae, deus, implue menti j 
Eloquii rorem ficcis infunde labellis : 
Diftillaque favos, quos nondum pallidus auro 
Scit Tagus, aut fitiens admotis Tantalus undis : 
Dirige quae timide fufcepit dextera, dextram 
Audacem pavidamque juva : Tu mentis habenas 
Fervoremque rege, &c. 

In the fifth book the poet has the following allufions to the 
fables of Corineus, Brutus, king Arthur, and the popula- 
tion of Britain from Troy. He feems to have copied thefe 
traditions from Geoffrey of Monmouth ". 

Tamen Architrenius inftat, 

Et genus et gentem quaerit ftudiofius : illi 
Tros genus, et gentem tribuit Lodonefia, nutrix 
Praebuit irriguam morum Cornubia mammam, 
Poft odium fati, Phrygiis inventa : Smaraudus 
Hanc domitor mundi Tyrinthius, alter Achilles, 

» Lei. p. 259. » See Hift. Galfrid. Mon. L xi. xvL xvii. Sec. 



Atridaeque timor Corinaeus, ferra gygantum, 
Clavaque monftrifera, fociae delegit alumnam 
Omnigenam Trojae, pluvioque fluviflua ladle 
Filius exilio feflb dedit ubera matri. 
A quo di6ta prius Cor'meia, dieitur au6lo 
Tempore corrupte Cornubia nominis haeres. 
Ille gygantaeos attritis ofTibus artus 
Implicuit letho, Tyrrheni littoris hofpes, 
Indomita virtute gygas ; non corpore mole 
Ad medium prefla, nee membris denfior aequo, 
Sarcina terrifica tumuit Titania mente. 
Ad Ligeris ripas Aquitanos fudit, et amnes 
Francorum potuit lacrymis, et caede vadoque 
Sanguinis enfe ruens, fatiavit rura, togaque 
Punicea veflivit agros, populique verendi 
Grandiloquos fregit animofa cufpide faflus. 
Integra, nee dubio bellorum naufraga flu6tu. 
Nee vice fufpe6la titubanti faucia fato, 
Indilata dedit fubitam vi<5loria laurum. 
Inde dato curfu, Bruto comitatus Achate, 
Gallorum fpolio eumulatus, navibus aequor 
Exarat, et luperis auraque faventibus utens, 
Litora feiices intrat Tolonefia portus : 
PromilTumque foli gremium monflrante Diana, 
Incolumi cenfus loculum ferit Albion alno. 
Haec eadem Bruto regnante Britannia nomen 
Traxit in hoc tempus ; foiis Titanibus ilia, 
Sed paucis, habitata domus j quibus uda ferarum 
Terga dabant veftes, cruor hauftus pocula, trunci 
Antra lares, dumeta toros, caenacula rupes, 
Praeda cibos, raptus venerem, fpedlacula caedes, 
Imperiuni vires, animum furor, impetus arma. 
Mortem pugna, fepulchra rubus : monftrifque gemebat 
Monticolis tellus : fed eorum plurima tra6lus 
Vol. I. h Pars 


Pars erat occidui terror; majorque premebat 
Te furor extremum zephyri, Cornubia, limen. 
Hos avidum belli Corinaei robur Averno 
Praecipites mifit ; cubitis ter quatuor altum 
Gogmagog Herculea fufpendit in aere lu6la, 
Anthasumque fuum fcopulo demifit in aequor : 
Potavitque dato Thetis ebria fanguine flu6tus, 
Divifumque tuiit mare corpus, Cerberus umbram. 
Nobilis a Phrygiae tanto Cornubia gentem 
Sanguine derivat, fucceflio cujus lulus 
In generis partem recipit complexa Pelafgam 
Anchifaeque domum : ramos hinc Pandrafus, inde 
Sylvius extendit, focioque a fidere fidus 
Plenius efFundit triplicatse lampadis ignes. 
Hoc trifido fola Corinasi poilera mundum 
Praeradiat pubes, quartique puerpera Phcebi 
Pullulat Arthurum, facie dum falfus adulter 
Tintagel irrumpit, nee amoris Pendragon aeftu 
Vincit, et omnificas Merlini confulit artes, 
Mentiturque ducis habitus, et rege latente 
Induit abfentis praefentia Gorlois ora°. 

There is a falfe glare of exprefTion, and no great Juftnefs of 
fentiment, in thefe verfes ; but they are animated, and flow- 
in a flrain of poetry. They are pompous and fonorous ; 
but thefe faults have been reckoned beauties even in poliflied 
ages. In the fame book our author thus chara6lerifes the 
diiEFerent merits of the fatires of Horace and Perfius. 

" Milton appears to have been much Brennumque Arviragumque duces, prifcum- 

ftruck with this part of the antient Britifh que Belinum, 

Hiflory, and to have defigned it for the Et tandem Armoricos Britonum fub lege 

fubjeft of an epic poeni. Epitaph. Da- colonos : 

MONis, V. 162. Turn gravidam Arturo, fatali fraude, lo- 

Ipfe ego Dardanias Rutuplna per sequora ,, , S^*""^"' ^ , . 

puppes i t ^ Mendacesvultus.airumptaque Gorlois arma,. 

Dicam, et Pandralidos regnum vetus Ino- M^''^^'^' '^°^"^; 

geniae, See alfo Milton's Mansus, v. 80.. 




Perfius in Flacci pelago decurrit, et audet 
MendicafTe flylum fatyrse, ferraque cruentus 
Rodit, et ignorat polientem pe6lora limam ^. 

In the third book he defcribes the happy parfitnony of the 
Ciftercian monks. 

O fan6la, o felix, albis galeata cucullis. 
Libera paupertas ! Nudo jejunia paftu 
Tracla diu folvens, nee corruptura palatum 
Mollitie menfae. Bacchus convivia nuUo 
Murmure conturbat, nee facra cubilia mentis 
Inquinat adventu. Stomacho languente miniftrat 
Solennes epulas ventris gravis hofpita Thetis, 
Et paleis armata Ceres. Si tertia menfae 
Copia fuccedat, truncantur olufcula, quorum 
Offendit macies oculos, pacemque meretur, 
Deterretque famem pallenti fobria cultu ^ 

Among Digby's manufcripts in the Bodleian library, are 
Hanvill's Latin epigrams, epiftles, and fmaller poems, many 
of which have confiderable merit ^ They are followed by a 
metrical tra6l, entitled, De Epistolarum Compositione. 
But this piece is written in rhyme, and feems to be poflerior 
to the age, at leafl inferior to the genius, of Hanvill. He 

P Juvenal is alfo cited by John of Salif- 
"bury, Feter of Blois, Vincentius Bellova- 
cenfis, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and other 
writers of the middle ages. They often 
call him Et h i c u s . See particularly Petr. 
Blef Epill. Ixxvii. Some lines from Ju- 
venal are cited by Honorius Auguftodunus, 
a prieft of Burgundy, who wrote about 
I 300, in his De Fhilofophia Mundi, Prasfat. 
ad lib. iv. The tenth fatire of Juvenal 
is quoted by Chaucer in Troilus and 
Cresseide, b. iv. v, 197. pag 307. 
edit. Urr. There is an old Italian me- 
taphrafe of Juvenal done in 1475, and 
publilhed toon afterwards, by Georgio 

Summaripa, of Verona. Giornale de 
Letterati d'ltalia, torn. viii. p. 41. Ju- 
venal was printed at Rome as early as 

1 There are two manufcripts of this 

poem, from which I tranfcribe, in the 

Bodleian library. MSS. Digb. 64. and 1 57. 

One of thefe has a glofs, but not that of 

Hugo Legatus, mentioned by Baillet. 

Jugem. Sav. iv. p. 257. edit. 4to. This 

poem is faid to have been printed at Paris 

1 5 17, 4to. Bibl. Thuan. tom. ii. p. 286. 

This edition I have never feen, and believe 

it to be an extremely fcarce book. 

' Cod. Digb. 64. ut fupr. 

h 2 




was buried in the abbey church of faint Alban's, foon after 
the year 1 200 '. Gyraldus Cambrenfis deferves particular 
regard for the univerfahty of his works, many of which are 
written with fome. degree of elegance. He abounds with 
quotations of the beft Latin poets. He was an hiflorian, 
an antiquary, a topographer, a divine, a philofopher, and 
a poet. His love of fcience was fo great, that he refufed 
two bifhopricks ; and from the midft of public bufmefs, 
with which his political talents gave him a confv^erable 
conne6lion in the court of Richard the firft, he retired to 
Lincoln for feven years, with a defign of purfuing theolo- 
gical fludies '. He recited his book on the topography of 
Ireland in public at Oxford, for three days fucceffively. On 
the firfl day of this recital he entertained all the poor of the 
city ; on the fecond, all the do6^ors in the feveral faculties^ 
and fcholars of better note j and on the third, the whole 
body of ftudents, with the citizens and foldiers of the gar- 
rifon \ It is probable that this was a ceremony praftifed 
on the like occafion in the univerfity of Paris "" -, where 

* Bale. iii. 49. 

* Wharton, Angl. Sacr. il. 374. 

" Wood. Hift. Antiq. Univ. Oxen, 
i. 56. 

w But Wood infmuates, that this fump- 
tuous entertainment was partly given by 
Gyraldus, as an inceptor in the arts. Ubi 
fupr. p. 25. col. 1. Which pradice I have 
mentioned. Sect. ix. p. 290. infr. And 
I will here add other inftances, efpecially 
as they are proofs of the eftimation in 
which letters, at leaft literary honours, 
were held. In the year 1268, the inceptors 
in civil law at Oxford were fo numerous, 
and attended by fuch a number of guefts, 
that the academical houfes or hoftels were 
not fufRcient for their accommodation : 
and the company filled not only thefe, 
but even the refeftory, cloifters, and many 
apartments of Ofeney abbey, near the fub- 
Urbs of Oxford. At which time many 
Italians ftudying at Oxford were admitted 
in that faculty. Wood, ubi fupr. p. 25. 

col. I. It appears that the mayor and ci- 
tizens of Oxford were conftantly invited to 
thefe folemnities. In the year 1400, two 
monks of the priory of Chrift Church in 
Canterbury were feverally admitted to the 
degree of do£tor in divinity and civil law 
at Oxford. The expences were paid by 
their monallery, and amounted to 1 18/. 3/. 
Sif. Regiftr. Priorat. pcrgamen. MSS. 
Tanner, Oxon. Num. 165. fol. 212. a. 
Among other articles there is, *' In folu- 
" tione fadaHisTRioN}Bus."fol. 213. a. 
[See Sect. ii. p. 91 • infr.] At length thefe 
fcholaftic banquets grew to fuch excefs, 
that it was ordered in the year 1434, that 
no inceptor in arts fhould expend more 
than " 3000 groflbs Turonenfes." Vet, 
Stat. See Leland, Coll. P. ii. tom. i. 
p. 296, 297. edit. 1770. But the limi- 
tation was a confiderable fum. Each is 
fomcwhat lefs than an EngHfh groat. Not- 
withitanding, Neville, afterwards arch- 
billiop of York, on his admiffion to the 




Giraldus had ftudied for twenty years, and where he had 
been ele6ted profefibr of canon law in the year 1 189 \ His 
account of Wales was written in confequence of the obferva- 
tions he made on that country, then almoft unknown to the 
Englifh, during his attendance on an archiepifcopal vifitation. 
I cannot refift the pleafure of tranfcribing from this book his 
pi6lure of the romantic fituation of the abbey of Lantony 
in Monmoythfliire. I will give it in Englifh, as my meaning 
is merely to fhew how great a mafter the author was of that 
feleftion of circumftances which forms an agreeable defcrip- 
tion, and which could only flow from a cultivated mind. 
In the deep vale of Ev/ias, which is about a bowfhot over, 
and encloled on all fides with high mountains, flands the 
abbey church of faint John, a flru^lure covered with lead, 
and not unhandfomely built for fo lonefome a fituation : 
on the very fpot, vv^here formerly ftood a fmall chapel 
dedicated to faint David, which had no other ornaments 
than green mofs and ivy. It is a fituation fit for the exer- 
cife of religion i and a religious edifice was firfl founded 
in this fequeftered retreat to the honour of a folitary life, 
by tvv^o hermits, remote from the noife of the world, upon 
the banks of the river Hondy, which winds through the 

midft of the valley. The rains which mountainous 

countries ufually produce, are here very frequent, the 
winds exceedingly tempefluous, and the winters almoil 















degree of mafler of arts in 1452, feafted 
the academics and many ftrangers for two 
fucceffive days, at two entertainments, con- 
fifting of nine hundred coftly diflies. Wood, 
ibid. 219. col. 1.2. Nor was this re- 
verence to learning, and attention to its 
inftitutions, confined to the circle of our 
univerfities. Such was the pedantry of the 
times, that in the year 1503, archbi(hop 
Wareham, chancellor of Oxford, at his 
feaft of inthronifation, ordered to be intro- 
duced in the iirft courfe a curious difh, in 
which were exhibited the eight towers of 
the univerfjty. In every tower flood a 

bedell; and under the towers were figure* 
of the king, to whom the chancellor Ware- 
ham, encircled with many dodlors pro- 
perly habited, prefented four Latin verfes, 
which were anfwered by his majefty. The 
eight towers were thofe of Merton, Mag- 
dalene, and New College, and of the mo- 
nafleries of Ofeney, Rewley, the Domini- 
can, Auguftine, and Francifcan friars, which 
five laft are now utterly deil:royed. Wood, 
ubi fupr. lib. i. p. 239. col. i. Compare 
Robinfon's Charles V. i. 323, feq. 

* Wharton, ibid. 

" continually 





*' continually dark. Yet the air of the valley is fo bappily^ 
^' tempered, as fcarcely to be the caufe of any difeafes. The 
monks fitting in the cloifters of the abbey, when they 
chufe for a momentary refrefliment to call: their eyes 
abroad, have on every fide a pleafing profpe6l of moun- 
** tains afcending to an immenfe height, with numerous 
** herds of wild deer feeding aloft oil the highefl extremity 
of this lofty horizon. The body of the fun is not vinble 
above the hills till after the meridian hour, even when 
the air is moft clear." Giraldus adds, that Roger, bifhop 
of Salifbury, prime minifler to Henry the firft, having 
vifited this place, on his return to court told the king, that 
all the treafure of his majefty's kingdom would not fuffice 
to build fuch another cloifter. The biiliop explained himfelf 
by faying, that he meant the circular ridge of mountains 
with which the vale of Ewias was enclofed \ Alexander 
Neckham was the friend, the affociate, and the correfpondent 
of Peter of Blois already mentioned. He received the firft 
part of his education in the abbey of faint Alban's, which 
he afterwards completed at Paris ^. His compcfitions are 
various, and croud -the department of manufcripts in our 
public libraries. He has left numerous treatifes of divinity, 
philofophy, and morality: but he was likewife a poet, a 
philologift, and a grammarian. He wrote a tra6l on the 
mythology of the antient poets, Efopian fables, and a fyftem 
of grammar and rhetoric. I have fcen his elegiac poem on 
the monaftic life *, which contains fome finiflied lines. But 
iliis capital piece of Latin poetry is On the Praife of Divine 
Wisdom, which confifts of feven books. In the introduc- 
tion he commemorates the innocent and unreturning plea- 
fures of his early days, which he paffed among the learned 
monks of faint Alban's, in thefe perfpicuous and unafFe6led 

y Girald. Cambrenf. Itin. Cambr. Lib. i. c. 3. p. 89. feq. Lond. 1585. izmo. 
^ Lei. Script. Brit. p. 240. fecj. » Bibl. BodL MSS. Digb. 65. fol. 18. 




Martyris Albani fit tibi tuta quies. 
Hie locus setatis noflrae primordia novit, 

Annos felices, laetitiaeque dies. 
Hie locus ingenuis pueriles imbuit annos 

Artibus, et noftrae laudis origo fuit. 
Hie locus infignes magnofque creavit alumnos, 

Felix eximio martyre, gente, fitu. 
Militat hie Chrifto, noftuque dieque laborL 

Indulget fan6lo religiofa cohors-^ 

Neckham died abbot of Cirenecfter in the year I2I7^ He 
was much attached to the fludious repofe of the monaftic 
profefiion, yet he frequently travelled into Italy ^ Walter 
Mapes, archdeacon of Oxford, has been very happily ftyled 
the Anacreon of the eleventh century'. He ftudied at Paris *^, 
His vein was chiefly feftive and fatiricaP: and as his wit was 
frequently levelled againft the corruptions of the clergy, his 
poems often appeared under fictitious names, or have been 
afcribed to others \ The celebrated drinking ode ' of this 
genial archdeacon has the regular returns of the monkifli 
rhyme : but they are here applied with a chara6lerifl:ical 
propriety, are fo happily invented, and fo humouroufly in- 
troduced, that they not only fuit the genius but heighten 
the fpirit of the piece ". He boafts that good wine infpires 

* Apud Lei. Script. Brit. p. 240. 
«= Willis, Mitr. Abb. i. 61, 62. 

<» Lei. ibid. 

= Lord Lyttelton's Hift. Hen. IL Not. 
B. ii. p. 133. 4to. 

^ See infr. Sect. ii. p. 63. 

z Tanner, Bibl. p. 507. 

^ Cave, Hift. Lit. p. 706. Compare 
Tanner, Bibl. 351. 507. In return, many 
pieces went under the name of our author. 
As, for inftance, De Thetide et de L;ao, 
which is a ridiculous piece of fcurrility. 
MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Digb. 166- f. 104. 

* See Camd. Rem. p. 436. Rythmi. 

^ In Bibl. Bodl. a piece De Nugh Cw 
rialium is given to Mapes. MSS. Arch. 
B. 52. It was written A. D. 1182. hi 
appears from Dijlind. iv. cap. 1 . It is in 
five books. Many Latin poems in this 
manufcript are given to Mapes. One in 
particular, written in a flowing ftyle, in 
ihort lines, preferving no fixed metrical 
rule, which feems to have been intended 
for finging. In another manufcript I find 
various pieces of Latin poetry, by fome at- 
tributed to Mapes, Bibl. Bodl. NE. E. iii. 
Some of thefe are in a good tal^e. Gam- 
den has printed his DiJjf>utatio inter Ccr et 




him to fing verfes equal to thofe of Ovid. In another Latin 
ode of the fame kind, he attacks with great livelinefs the 
new injunftion of pope Innocent, concerning the celibacy of 
the clergy j and hopes that every married prieft with his 
bride, will fay a pater nofler for the foul of one who had 
thus hazarded his falvation in their defence. 

Ecce jam pro clericis multum allegavi, 
Necnon pro prefbyteris plura comprobavi : 
Pater Noster nunc pro me, quoniam peccavi, 
Dicat quifque Prelbyter, cum fua Suavi '. 

But a miracle of this age in claflical compofition was Jo* 
feph of Exeter, commonly called Jofephus Ifcanus. He wrote 
two epic poems in Latin heroics. The firfl is on the Trojan 
War ; it is in fix books, and dedicated to Baldwin archbilhop 
of Canterbury "'. The fecond is entitled Antiocheis, the 

Oculum. Rem. p. 439. It is written in a 
fort of Anacreontic verfe, and has fome 
humour. It is in MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Digb. 
ut fupr. 166. See alfo Camd. ibid. p. 437. 

' Camd. Rem. ut fupr. 

"' See lib. i. 32. It was firfl; printed at 
Bafil, but very corruptly, in the year 1541. 
8vo. Under the name of Cornelius Nepos. 
The exiftence and name of this poem feem 
to have been utterly unknown in England 
when Leland wrote. He firft met with a 
manufcript copy of it by mere accident in 
Magdalene college library at Oxford. He 
never had even heard of it before. He 
afterwards found two more copies at Paris. 
But thefe were all imperfeft, and without 
the name of the author, except a marginal 
hint. At length he difcovered a complete 
copy of it in the library of Thorney abbey 
in Cambridgelhire, which feems to have 
afcertained the author's name, but not 
his country. Script. Brit. p. 238. The 
negledl of this poem among our anceftors, 
I mean in the ages which followed Ifca- 
nus, appears from the few manufcripts of 
it now remaining iu England. Leland, 

who fearched all our libraries, could find 
only two. There is at prefent one in 
the church of Wefl:minfter. Another in 
Bibl. Bodl. Digb. 157. That in Magda- 
len college is MSS. Cod. 5c. The beft 
edition is at the end of " Diftys Cre- 
•' tenfis et Dares Phrygius, in uf SerenifT. 
" Delph. cum Interpret. A. Daceriae, &c. 
" Amftsl. 1702." 4to. But all the printed 
copies have omitted pafTages which I find 
in the Digby manufcript. Particularly 
they omit, in the addrefs to Baldwin, four 
lines after v. 32. lib. i. Thirteen lines, 
in which the poet alludes to his intended 
Antiocheis, are omitted before v. 962. 
lib. vi. Nor have they the verfes in which 
he compliments Henry the fecond, faid by 
Leland to be at the end of the fourth 
book. Script. Brit. p. 238. The truth is, 
thefe pafTages would have betrayed their 
firft editor's pretence of this poem being 
written by Cornelius Nepos. As it is, he 
was obliged in the addrefs to Baldwin, to 
change Cantia, Kent, into Tuntia; for 
which he fubftitutes Pcniia in the margin, 
as an ingenious conjedure. 



War of Antioch, or the Crufade j in which his patron the 
archbifhop was an a6lor \ The poem of the Trojan war is 
founded on Dares Phrygius, a favorite fabulous hiflorian of 
that time ". The di6lion of this poem is generally pure, the 
periods round, and the numbers harmonious : and on the 
whole, the flruflure of the verfification approaches nearly to 
that of poliflied Latin poetry. The writer appears to have 
poflefTed no common command of poetical phrafeology, and 
wanted nothing but a knowledge of the Virgilian chaftity. 
His ftyle is a mixture of Ovid, Statins, and Claudian, who 
feem then to have been the popular patterns ^. But a few 
fpecimens will beft illuftrate this criticifm. He thus, in a 
ftrain of much fpirit and dignity, addrefles king Henry the 
fecond, who was going to the holy war**, the intended fubje(5l 
of his Antiocheis. 

Tuque, oro, tuo da, maxime, vati 

Ire iter inceptum, Trojamque aperire jacentem : 
Te facrae afTument acies, divinaque bella, 
Tunc dignum majore tuba ; tunc pe6lore toto 
Nitar, et immenfum mecum fpargere per orbem '. 

The tomb or maufoleum of Teuthras is feigned with a 
brilliancy of imagination and expreflion ; and our poet's 

" Leland, p. 224, 225. jiiirably charafterifed by an ingenious 

" The manufcript at Magdalen college, French writer. " Les Faftes d' Ovide 

mentioned by Leland, is entitled, Darej '* renferment plus d' erudition qu' aucun 

Phrygius de hello Trojano. Lei. p. 236. ■'-' autre ouvrage de I'antiquite. C'efl le 

As alfo MSS. Digb. fupr. citat. But fee *' chef d' ceuvre de ce poete, et une efpece 

Sect. iii. p. 135. infr. " de devotion paienne." Vigneul Mar- 

p Statius is cited in the epiftles of Ste- ville, Mifc. Hift. et Lit. torn. ii. p. 306. 

phen of Tournay, a writer of the twelfth A writer of the thirteenth century, De 

century. " Divinam ejus refponfionem, Mirabilibus RomjE, publirtied by 

** MtTbehais JEneid^t longtfequor, et vef- Montfaucon, calls this work Martilq- 

♦' tigia femptr adoro." ye died in 1 20^. -G i u M OwV/V //« /"^y?//. Montf. Diar. Italic. 

Epistol^, Parif, 161 1. 4to. Epift. v, c. xx. p. 25)3. 

p. 535. On account of the variety of his "^ Voltaire has exprefled his admiration 

matter, and the facility of his manner, of the happy choice of fubjeft which Taflb 

none of the antient poets are more fre- made. We here fee a poet of an age much 

quently cited in the vyriters of the dark earlier than Taffo celebrating the fame fort 

ages than Ovid. His .Fasti feems ^to of expedition, 

{ifcve been their favorite : a work thus ad- ' Lib. 1. 47. 

Vol. I. i claiTical 


clafTical ideas feem here to have been tm6lured with the- 
defcription of fome magnificent oriental palace, which h^ 
had feen in the romances of his age. 

Regia confpicuis moles infcripta figuris 
Exceptura ducem, fenis afFulta columnis, 
Tollitur : eleftro vernat bafis, arduus auro 
Ardet apex, radioque ftylus candefcit eburno.. 

Gemmx quas littoris Indi 

Dives arena tegit, aurum quod parturit Hermus^, 
In varias vivunt fpecies, ditique decorum 
Materie contendit opus : quod nobile du6lor 
Quod clarum gefTit, ars explicat, ardua pandit 
Moles, et totum referat fculptura tyrannum \. 

He thus> defcribes Penthefilea and Pyrrhus. 

Eminet, horrificas rapiens poft terga fecures, 
Virginei regina chori : non provida cultus 
Cura trahit, non form_a juvat, frons afpera, veftis, 
Difcolor, infertumque armis irafcitur aurum. 
Si vifum, fi verba notes, fi lumina pendas, 
Nil leve, nil fra6lum : latet omni fcemina fafto. 
Gbvius ultrices accendit in arma cohortes, 
Myrmidonafque fuos, curru prseye6i;us anhelo,, 
Pyrrhus, &c. 

Meritofque olTenfus in hoftes 

Arma patris, nunc ultor, habet : fed tanta recufant 

Pondera crefcentes humeri, majoraque caflis 

CoUa petit, breviorqvie manus vix colligit haftam '. . 

Afterwards a Grecian leader, whofe chara6ler is inveflive^. 
infults Penthefilea, and her troop of heroines, with thefe. 

' Lib. iv. 451.. s Lib. vi. p. 589.. 



Tunc fie increpitans, Pudeat, Mars inclyte, dixit : 

En ! tua figna gerit, quin noftra efFoeminat arma 

Staminibus vix apta manus. Nunc ftabitis hercle 

Perjurae turres ; calathos et penfa puellae 

Plena rotant, fparguntque colos. Hoc milite Troja, 

His fidit telis. At non patiemur Achivi : 

Etfi turpe viris timidas calcare puellas, 

Ibo tamen contra. Sic ille : At virgo loquacem 

Tarda fequi fexum, velox ad praelia, folo 

Refpondet jaculo ', &c. 

I will add one of his comparifons. The poet is fpeaking of 
the relu6lant advances of the Trojans under their new leader 
Memnon, after the fall of He6lon 

Qualiter Hyblaei mellita pericula reges, 
Si fignis iniere datis, labente tyranno 
Alterutro, viduos dant agmina ftridula queftus.; 
Et, fubitum vix na6la ducem, metuentia vibrant 
Spicula, et imbelli remeant in praelia roftro '. 

His Antiocheis was written in the fame ftrain, and had 
equal merit. All that remains of it is the following frag- 
ment ', in which the poet celebrates the heroes of Britainj 
and particularly king Arthur. 

Inclyta fulfit 

Pefleritas ducibus tantis, tot dives alumnis, 
Tot fcecunda viris, premerent qui viribus orbem 

» Lib. vi. 609. ' Lib. vi. 19. in the library of Abingdon abbey in Berk- 

* Camd. Rem. p. 410. Poems. See fhire. " Cum excuterera pulverem et 

alfo Camd. Brit. Leiand having learned •' tineas Abbandunenlis bibliothecse," Ut 

from the Bellum Trojanum that Jofephus fupr. p. 238. Kere he difcovered that 

had likewife written a poem on the cruiade, Jofephus was a native of Exeter, which 

fearched for it in many places, but without city was highly celebrated in that frag- 

>fiiccefs. A length he found a piece of it ment. 

L • i a Et 



Et fama veteres. Hinc Conflantinus adeptus 
Imperium, Romam tenuit, Byzantion auxit. 
Hinc, Senonum du6lor, captiva Brennius " urbc 
Romuleas domuit flammis vi6lricibus arces. 
Hinc et Scaeva fatus, pars non obfcura tumultus 
Civilis, Magnum folus qui mole foiuta 
Obfedit, meliorque ftetit pro Caefare murus» 
Hinc, celebri fato, felici floruit ortu, 
Flos regum Arthurus"', cujus tamen a6la ftupori'. 
Non micuere minus : totus quod in aure voluptas,,. 
Et populo plaudente favor '. Qusecunque ^ priorunii 
Infpice : Pellaeum commendat fama t.yrannum, 
Pagina Caefareos loquitur Romana triumphos : 
Alciden domitis attollit gloria monftris ; 
Sed nee pinetum coryli, nee fydera folem 
iEquant. Annales Graios Latiofque revolve, 
Prifca parem nefcit, sequalem poftera nullum' 
Exhibitura diea. Reges fupereminet omnes :. 
Solus prseteritis melior, majorque futuris. 

Camden aflerts, that Jofeph accompanied king Richard the 
firfl to the holy land ', and wras an^eye-witnefs of that heroic- 
monarch's exploits among the Saracens, which afterwards he 
celebrated in the Antiocheis. Leland mentions his love- 
vcrfes and epigrams, which are long (ince perifhed*. He.'' 
flouriftied in the year 1 2.J o '. 

» f. " Captiva Brennus in." 

^ From this circumftance, Pitts abfurdly 
recites the title of this poem thus, jintio- 
fheis in Regent Arthur urn, Jos. Isc. 

" The text feems to be corrupt in this 
fentence. Or perhaps fomewhat is want- 
ing. I have changed favuit which is in 
Camden, xxiXo favor, 

y f. ^emcunque. 

* Rem. ut fupr. p, 407. 

* Leland, ut fupr. p. 239. Our blo- 

Sraphers mention Panegyrkum in Henricum. 
Ut tlw notion of this poem feems to have 

taken rife front the verfes on Henry the 
fecond, quoted by Leland from t\v^.Btllum 
I'rojanum. He is lilcewife faid" to have 
written in Latin verfe De Infiitutione Cyri. 

•> Italy had at that time produced no 
writer comparable to Ifcanus. 

* Bale, iii. 60. Compare Dre/enius ad 
Ledorem. Prefixed to the De Bello 
Trojano. Francof. 1620. 410. Mr. Wife 
the late RadclifFe librarian, told me, that a 
manufcript of the Antiocheis was in. 
the library of the duke of Chandois at 




There feems to have been a rival fph'it of writing Latin 
heroic poems about this period. In France, Guillaume le 
Breton, or William of Bretagny, about the year 1230, wrote 
a Latin heroic poem on Philip Auguftus king of France, 
about the commencement of the thirteenth century, in 
twelve books, entitled, Philippis **. Barthius gives a prodi- 
gious character of this poem : and affirms that the author, 
a few gallicifms excepted, has exprefled the facility of Ovid 
with fmgular happinefs '. The verfification much refembles 
that of Jofeph Ifcanus. He appears to have drawn a great 
part of his materials from Roger Hoveden's annals. But I 
am of opinion, that the Philippid is greatly exceeded by 
the Alexandreid. of Philip Gualtier de Chatillon, who 
flouriftied likewife in France, and was provoft of the canons 
of Tournay, about the year 1200 ^ This poem cele'brates 
the a6lions of Alexander the Great, is founded on Quintus 
Curtius ^ conlifts of ten books, and is dedicated to Guillerm 
archbilliop of Rheims. To give the reader an opportunity 
of comparing Gualtier's ftyle and manner with thofe of our 
countryman Jofephus, I will tranfcribe a few fpecimens from 
a beautiful and antient manufcript of the Alexandreid in 
the Bodleian library \ This is the exordium. 

Gefta ducis Macedum t otum vulgata per obem, 
Quam late difperlit opes, quo milite Porum 
Vicerit et Darium 5 quo principe Grsecia vi6lrix 

^ He wrote it at fifty-five years of age. 
Phi LI pp. lib. iii. v. 381. It was nrft 
printed in Pithou's Eleven Hiftorians of 
France, Francof. 1536. fol. Next in Du 
Chefne, Script. Franc, torn. v. p. 93. 
Parif. 1694. fol. But the beft edition is 
with Barthius's notes. Cygn. 1657. 410. 
Brito fays in the Philippis, that he 
wrote a poem called Karlottis, in 
praife of Petri Carlotti fui^ then not fif- 
ttco years old. Phih?r. lib. i. v. lo. 

This poem was never printed* and is hardly 

^ In Not. p. 7. See alfo Adverfar. 
xliii. 7. He prefers it to the Alexan- 
DREis mentioned below, in not. p. 528. 
See Mem. Lit. viii. 536. edit. 4to. 

^ It was firft printed, Argent. 15 13. 8vo.. 
And two or three times fince. 

E Seeinfr. Sect. iii. p. 135. And Barth. 
Adverf. Hi. 16. 

k MSS. Digb. 52. 4to. 



Rifit, et a Perfis rediere tributa Corinthum, 
Mufa, refer \ 

A beautiful rural fcene is thus defcribed. 

Patulis ubi frondea ramis 

Laurus odoriferas celabat crinibus herbas : 
Saepe fub hac memorat carmen fylveftre canentes 
Nympharum vidifTe choros, Satyrofque procaces. 
Fons cadit a laeva, quern cefpite gramen obumbrat 
Purpureo, verifque latens fub vefte locatur. 
Rivulus at lento lavat inferiora meatu 
Garrulus, et ftrepitu facit obfurdefcere montes. 
Hie mater Cybele Zephyrum tibi, Flora, maritans, 
PuUulat, et vallem foecundat gratia fontis. 
Qualiter Alpinis fpumofo vortice faxis 
Defcendit Rhodanus, ubi Maximianus Eoos 
Extinxit cuneos, dum fanguinis unda meatum 
Fluminis adjuvit '. 

He excells in fimilies. Alexander, when a flripling, is thus 
compared to a young lion. 

Qualiter Hyrcanis cum forte leunculis arvis 

Cornibus elatos videt ire ad pabula cervos, 

Cui nondum totos defcendit robur in artus. 

Nee bene firmus adhuc, nee dentibus afper aduncis, 

Palpitat, et vacuum ferit improba lingua palatum j 

EfFunditque prius animis quam dente cruorem ". 

The Alexandreid foon became fo popular, that Henry 
of Gaunt, archdeacon of Tournay, about the year 1330, 
complains that this poem was commonly taught in the 

^ fol. I. a. ^ fol. xiii. a, '' fol. xxi. a. ,- 




chetorical fchools, inflead of Lucan ' and Virgil ". The 
learned Charpentier cites a pafTage from the manufcript 
flatutes of the univerfity of Tholoufe, dated 1328, in which 
the profeiTors of grammar are dire6led to read to their pupils 
** De Hiftoriis Alexandri "." Among which I include Gual- 
tier's poem °. It is cjuoted as a familiar claiTic by Thomas 
Rodburn, a monkifli chronicler, who wrote about the year 
1420 ^ An anonymous Latin poet, feemingly of the thir- 
teenth century, who has left a poem on the life and miracles 
of faint Ofwald, mentions Homer, Gualtier, and Lucan, 
as the three capital heroic poets. Homer, he fays, has cele- 
brated Hercules, Gualtier the fon of Philip, and Lucan has 
fung the praifes of Cefar. But, adds he, thefe heroes much 
lefs deferve to be immortalifed in verfe, than the deeds of 
the holy confeiTor Ofwald. 

In nova fert animus antiquas vertere profas 
Carmina, &c. 

' Here, among many other proofs which 
might be given, and which will occur here- 
after, is a proof of the eftimation in which 
Lucan was held during the middle ages. 
He is quoted by Geoffrey of Monmouth 
and John of Salifhury, writers of the 
eleventh century. Hift. Brit. iv. 9. And 
Policrat. p. 215. edit. 1515. &c. &c. There 
is an anonymous Italian tranflation of Lu- 
can, as early as the year 1310. The Ita- 
lians have alfo Lucano in ijolgare, by car- 
dinal Montichelli, at Milan 1492. It is in 
the oftave rime, and in ten bocks. But 
the tranflator has fo much departed from 
the original, as to form a fort of romance 
of his own. He was tranflated into Spanifh 
profe, Lucano poet a y hifioriador antiquo, 
by Martin LafTe de Orefpe, at Antwerp, 
15 85. Lucan was firft printed in the year 
1469. And before the year 1500, there 
were fix other editions of this claffic, . 
whofe declamatory manner rendered him 
very popular. He was publifhed at Paris 
io French in 1500, Labb. Bibl. p. 339, 

"" See Hen. Gandav. Monaftichon. c. 20.' 
and Fabric. Bibl. Gr. ii. 218. Alanus. 
de Infulis, who died in 1202, in his poem, 
called Anti-claudianus, a Latin poem 
of nine books, much in the manner of.' 
Claudian, and written in defence of divine 
providence againft a paffage in that poet's 
RuFiNus, thus attacks the riling reputa- - 
tion of the Alexandreid. 

Maevius in coelis ardens os ponere niutum, . 
Gesta Ducis Macedum, tenebrofi. car- - 

minis umbra, 
Dicere dum tentat. — — • 

" Suppl. Du Cang. Lat. Glofll torn, ii, - 
p. 1255. V. Metrificatura. By. 
which barbarous word they lignified the Art • 
of Poetry, or rather the Art of writing ■ 
Latin verfes. 

° See Sect. iii. p. 128. infr. 

p Hift. Maj. Winton. apud Wharton, , 
Angl. Sacr. i. 342, 

Alcid.^n . 


Alclden hyperbolice commendat Homerus, '^ 

GuALTERus pingit torvo Philippida vultu, 
Caefareas late laudes Luc an us adauget; 
Tres illi famam meruerunt, trefque poetas 
Au6lores habuere fuos, multo magis autem 
Ofwaldi regis debent infignia dici *•. 

I do not cite this writer as a proof of the elegant verfifica- 
tion which had now become fafhionable, but to fhew the 
popularity of the Alexandreid, at leaft among fcholars. 
About the year 1206, Gunther a German, and a Ciftercian 
monk of the diocefe of Bafil, wrote an heroic poem in Latin 
verfe entitled, Ligurinus, which is fcarce inferior to the 
Philippid of Guillaum le Breton> or the Alexandreid of 
Gualtier: but not fo polilhed and claflical as the Trojan 
War of our Jofephus Ifcanus. It is in ten books, and the 
fubje(^ is the war of the emperor Frederick BarbarolTa againft 

^ I will add fome of the exordial lines 
almoft immediately following, as they con- 
tain names, and other circumftances, which 
perhaps may lead to point out the age if 
•not the name of the author. They were 
never before printed. 

Tu quoque digneris, precor, afpirare labori, 
Tlos cleri, Martine, meo; qui talis es 

Abbates, qualis eft patronus tuus inter 
•Pontifices : hie eft primas, tu primus eo- 

rum, 8cc. 
Hie per Aidanum fua munificentia munus 
Illi promerult, &c. 
Tuque benigne Prior, primas, et prime 

Qui cleri. Roc ere, rofam geris, annue 

vati, &c. 
Tuque Sacrifta, facris inftans, qui jure vo- 

Symon, id eft humilis, quo nemo benig- 

nior alter 
Abbatis prxcepta fui velocior audit, 
Tardius obloquitur : qui tot mea carmina 


Scripta voluminibus, nee plura requirere 

Praftcritos laudas, praefentes dilige ver- 

fus. Sec. 
The manufcript is Bibl. Bodl. A. i. 2. B. 
(Langb. 5. p. 3.) This piece begins at 
f. 57. Other pieces precede, in Latin 
poetry. As Vit^ Sanctorum. T. £ec- 
ket. f. 3. 

Qui moritur ? Praeful. Cur ? pro Grege, 

Prol. pr. f. 23. 

Detineant alios Pamafli culmina, Cyrrhae 
Plaufus, Pieridum vox, Heliconis opes. 

De partu Virginis. f. 28. b. 
Neftareum rorem terris, &;c. 

S. Birinusy f. 42. 
Et pudet, et fateor, &c. 

The author of the life of Birinus fays, he 
was commanded to write by Peter, probably 
Peter de Rupibus, bifhop of Winchefter. 
Perhaps he is Michael Blaunpayne. Alex- 
ander EfTeby wrote lives of faints in Latin 
verfe. See MSS. Harl, 1819. 531. 




the Milanefe in Liguria ^ He had before written a Latin 
poem on the expedition of the emperor Conrade againfl the 
Saracens, and the recovery of the holy fepulchre at Jerufalem 
by Godfrey of BuUoign, which he called Solymarium '. The 
fubje6l is much like that of the Antiocheisj but which of 
the two pieces was written firft it is difficult to afcertain. 

While this fpirit of claffical Latin poetry was univerfally 
prevailing, our countryman Geoffrey de Vinefauf, an accom- 
pliflied fcholar, and educated not only in the priory of faint 
Fridefwide at Oxford, but in the univerfities of France and 
Italy, publifhed while at Rome a critical dida6lic poem en- 
titled, De Nova Poetria '. This book is dedicated to pope 
Innocent the third : and its intention was to recommend 
and illuflrate the new and legitimate mode of verification 
which had lately begun to flourifh in Europe, in oppofition 
to the Leonine or barbarous fpecies. This he compendioufly 
flyles, and by way of diftinftion, T^he New Poetry. Wc mufl 
not be furprifed to find Horace's Art of Poetry entitled, 
HoRATii Nova Poetria, fo late as the year 1389, in a 
catalogue of the library of a monaftery at Dover \ 

Even a knowledge of the Greek language imported from 
France, but chiefly from Italy, was now beginning to be 
diffufed in England. I am inclined to think, that many 

^ Firft printed Auguft. Vindel. 1507, 
fol. And frequently fince. 

' He mentions it in his Ligurium, 
lib. i. V. 13. feq. v. 648. feq. See alfo 
VofT. Poet. Lat. c. vi. p. 73, It was never 
printed. Gunther wrote a profe hiftory of 
the fack of Conftantinople by Baldwin : 
The materials were taken from the mouth 
of abbot Martin, who was prefent at the 
fiege, in 1204. It was printed by Cani- 
fius, Antiqu. Left. torn. iv. P. ii. p. 358. 
Ingolftad. 1604. 4to. Again, in a new 
edition of that compilation, Amft. 1725. 
fol. torn. iv. See alfo Pagi, ad A. D. 15 19. 
n. xiv. 

* It has been often printed. I think it is 
called in fome manufcripts, De Arte die- 

Vol. I. 

tand't, 'verjrjicandi, et transferee Ji . See Sel» 
den, Prsefat. Dec. Scriptor. p. xxxix. 
And Selden, Op. ii. 168. He is himfelf 
no contemptible Latin poet, and is ce- 
lebrated by Chaucer. See Urry's edit. 
p. 468. 560. He feems to have lived 
about 1200. 

' Ex Matricula Monach. Monaft. Dover, 
apud MSS. Br. Twyne, notat. 8. p. 758. 
archiv. Oxon. Yet all Horace's writings 
were often tranfcribed, and not unfamiliar, 
in the dark ages. His odes are quoted by 
Fitz-Stephens in his Description of 
London. Rabanus Maurus above-men- 
tioned quotes two verfes from the Art of 
Poetry. Op. torn. ii. p. 46. edit. Colon. 
1627. fol. 

I Greek 



Greek manufcripts found their way into Europe from Con- 
flan tinople in the time of the crufades : and we might ob- 
ferve that the Italians, who feem to have been the moft po- 
lifhed and intelligent people of Europe during the barbarous 
ages, carried on communications with the Greek empire 
as early as the reign of Charlemagne. Robert Groflhead, 
bifhop of Lincoln, an univerfal fcholar, and no lefs conver- 
fant in polite letters than the moft abftrufe fciences, culti- 
vated and patronifed the ftudy of the Greek language. This 
illuftrious prelate, who is faid to have compofed almoft two 
hundred books, read le6fures in the fchool of the Francifcan 
friars at Oxford about the year 1230". He tranfiated Dio- 
nyfius the Areopagite and Damafcenus into Latin \ He 
greatly facilitated the knowledge of Greek by a tranflation 
of Suidas's Lexicon, a book in high repute among the lower 
Greeks, and at that time almoft a recent compilation ^ He 
promoted John of Bafmgftoke to the archdeaconry of Lei- 
cefter j chiefly becaufe he was a Greek fcholar, and poflefTed 
many Greek manufcripts, which he is faid to have brought 
from Athens into England \ He entertained, as a domeftic 

^ Kennet, Paroch. Antiq. p. 217. 

^ Leland, Script. Brit. p. 283. 

y Boflon of Euiy fays, that he tranflated 
the book called Suda. Catal. Script. Ec- 
clef. Robert. Lincoln. Bofton lived in 
the year 1410. Such v/as their ignorance 
at this time even of the name of this 

^ Lei. Script. Brit. p. 266. Matthew 
Paris aflerts, that he introduced into Eng- 
land a knowledge of the Greek numeral 
letters. That hiltorian adds, " De quibus 


•' quod unica figura quilibet numerus re- 
" prsfentatur : quod non eft in Latino vel 
•• in Algorifmo." Hift. edit. Lond. 1684. 
p. 721. He tranflated from Greek into 
Latin a grammar which he called Dona- 
Tus Gr^corum. See Pegge's Life of 
Roger de Wefeham, p. 46. 47. 51. And 
infr. p. 281. He feems to have flouriflied 
about the year 1230. Bacon alfo wrote a 

Greek grammar, in which is the following 
curious paflage. " Epifcopus confecrans 
" ecclefiam, fcribat Alphabetum Grsecum 
** in pulvere cum cufpide baculi paftoralis : 
" fed omnes epifcopi ciui GrjECUM ig- 
'• NO RANT, fcribant tres notas numero- 
" rum quse non funt literse, &c." Gr. 
Gram. cap. ult. p. iii. MSB. Apud MSS. 
Br. Twyne, 8, p. 649. archiv. Oxon. 
See what is faid of the new tranflations of 
Ariftotle, from the original Greek into 
Latin, about the twelfth century. Sect. ix. 
p. 292. infr. I believe the tranflators un- 
derftood very little Greek. Our country- 
man Michael Scotus was one of the firft of 
them ; who was affifted by Andrew a Jew. 
Michael was aftrologer to Frederick em- 
peror of Germany, and appears to have ex- 
ecuted his tranflations at Toledo in Spain, 
about the year 1220. Thefe new verflons 
were perhaps little more than corrgftions 
from thofe of the early Arabians, made 



in his palace, Nicholas chaplain of the abbot of faint 
Alban's, furnamed Gr^cus, from his uncommon proficiency 
in Greek ; and by his alFiftance he tranflated from Greek into 
Latin the teftaments of the twelve patriarchs '. Grofthead 
had almoft incurred the cenfure of excommunication for 
preferring a complaint to the pope, that moft of the opulent 
benefices in England were occupied by Italians ^ But this 
pra6lice, although notorioufly founded on the monopolifing 
and arbitrary fpirit of papal impofition, and a manifefl a6t 
of injuflice to the Englifh clergy, probably contributed to 
introduce many learned foreigners into England, and to 
propagate philological literature. 

Bifliop Grofthead is alfo faid to have been profoundly 
fkilled in the Hebi'ew language ^ William the conqueror 
permitted great numbers of Jews to come over from Rouen, 
and to fettle in England about the year 1087 \ Their mul- 
titude foon encreafed, and they fpread themfelves in vaft 
bodies throughout moft of the cities and capital towns in 
England, where they built fynagogues. There were fifteen 
hundred at York about the year 1189% At Bury in Suffolk 

under the Infpeftion of the learned Spanlfli commerce with the Syrian Palellines, got 
Saracens. To the want of a true know- a knowledge of Arabic : and that import- 
ledge of the original language of the an- ing into Europe Arabic verfions of fome 
tient Greek philofophers, Roger Bacon at- parts of Ariftotle's works, which they found 
tributes the flow and imperfed advances in the eaft, they turned them into Latin. 
of real fcience at this period. On this Thefe were chiefly his Ethics and Politics, 
account their improvements were very in- and thefe new translators he further 
conflderable, notwithftanding the appear- fuppofes were employed at their return into 
ance of erudition, and the fervour with Europe in rcvifmg the old tranflations of 
which almoft every branch of philofophy other parts of Ariftotle, made from Arabic 
had been now ftudied in various countries into Latin. Eufeb. Renaudot. De Barbar. 
for near half a century. See Wood, Hift. Ariftot. Verfionib. apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. 
Antiq. Univ. Oxon. i. 120. feq. Demp- xii. p. 248. See alfo Murator. Antiq. Ital. 
fler, xii. 940. Baconi Op. Maj. per Med. ^v. iii. 936. 

Jebb, i. 15. ii. 8. Tanner, Bibl. p. 526. ^ See MSS. Reg. Brit. Muf. 4 D. vii. 4. 

And MSS. Cotton. C. 5. fol. 138. Brit. Wood, Hift. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. i. 82. 

Muf. And M. Paris, fub anno 1242. 

A learned writer affirms, that Ariftotle's ^ Godwin, Epifc. p. 348. edit. 1616. 

books in the original Greek were brought "^ He is mentioned again, Sect. ii. p. 61. 

out of the eaft into Europe about the year 78. infr. 

1200. He is alfo of opinion, that during •• Hollingfli. Chron. fub ann. p. 15. a. 

the crufades many Europeans, from their * Anderf. Comm. i. 93. 

k 2 is 


is a very complete remain of a Jewifh fynagogue of ftone in 
the Norman ftyle, large and magnificent. Hence it was that 
many of the learned Englifh ecclefiaftics of thefe times be- 
came acquainted with their books and language. In the 
reign of William Rufus, at Oxford the Jews were remark- 
ably numerous, and had acquired a confiderable property ; 
and fome of their Rabbis were permitted to open a fchool 
in the univerfity, where they inflruded not only their own 
people, but many chriflian ftudents, in the Hebrew litera- 
ture, about the year 1054 ^ Within two hundred years 
after their admiffion or eftablifhment by the conqueror, they 
were banifhed the kingdom ^ This circumftance was highly 
favourable to the circulation of their learning in England. 
The fuddennefs of their difmifTion obliged them for prefent 
fubfiftence, and other reafons, to fell their moveable goods 
of all kinds, among which were large quantities of Rab- 
binical books. The monks in various parts availed them- 
felves of the diflribution of thefe treafares. At Huntingdon 
and Stamford there was a prodigious fale of their efFe6ls, 
containing immenfe ftores of Hebrew manufcripts, which 
were immediately purchafed by Gregory of Huntingdon, prior 
of the abbey of Ramfey. Gregory fpeedily became an adept 
in the Hebrew, by means of thefe valuable acquifitions, 
which he bequeathed to his monaftery about the year 1250 ^ 
Other members of the fame convent, in confequence of thefe 
advantages, are faid to have been equal proficients in the 
fame language, foon after the death of prior Gregory : 
among which were Robert Dodford, librarian of Ramfey, 
and Laurence Holbech, who compiled a Hebrew Lexicon '. 

' Angl. Judaic, p. 8. ^ Leland, Script. Brit. p. 321.* And 

f Hollinfh. ibid. fub. ann. 1289. p. 285. MSS. Bibl. Lambeth. Wharton, L. p. 

a. MatthewofWeflminfter fays, that 1651 1 661. " Libri Prioris Gregorii de Rame- 

were banilhed. Flor. Hift. ad an. 1290. " fey. Ptima pars BihUctheca Hebraiae^ 

Great numbers of Hebrew rolls and charts, *' &c.'* 

relating to their eftates in England, and it,,. • t 1 i^* r 

efcheated to the king, are now remaining ^,^^^' »^- 4^. i^- 9- Lei- "^i fupr. 

iij the Tower among the royal records. P* 45*^* 



At Oxford, great multitudes of their books fell into the 
hands of Roger Bacon, or were bought by his brethren the 
Francifcan friars of that univerfity \ 

But, to return to the leading point of our enquiry, this 
promifmg dawn of polite letters and rational knowledge 
was foon obfcured. The temporary gleam of light did not 
arrive to perfe6l day. The minds of fcholars were diverted 
from thefe liberal ftudies in the rapidity of their career ^ 
and the arts of compofition, and the ornaments of lan- 
guage were negle6ted, to make way for the barbarous and 
barren fubtleties of fcholaftic divinity. The firft teachers 
of this art, originally founded on that fpirit of intricate and. 
metaphyseal enquiry which the Arabians had communicated 
to philofophy, and which now became almoft abfolutely 
neceflary for defending the do6lrines of Rome, were Peter 
Lombard archbifliop of Paris, and the celebrated Abelard : 
men whofe confummate abilities were rather qualified to re- 
form the church, and to reftore ufeful fcience, than to cor« 
rupt both, by confounding the common fcnfe of mankind 
with frivolous fpeculation \ Thefe vifionary theologifls never 
explained or illuftrated any fcriptural topic : on the con- 
trary, they perverted the fimpleft exprefiions of the facred 
text, and embarrafTed the moil evident truths of the gofpel 
by laboured diftin(5lions and unintelligible folutions. From 
the univerfities of France, which were then filled with mul- 
titudes of Englifh ftudents, this admired fpecies of fophiftry 
was adopted in England, and encouraged by Lan franc and 
Anfelm, archbifhops of Canterbury'". And fo fuccefsful 
was its progrefs at Oxford, that before the reign of Edward 
the fecond, no foreign univerfity could boaft fo confpicuous 
a catalogue of fubtle and invincible dodlors. 

^ Wood, Hift. Antiq. Univ. O.xon. i. " Scripturae) fuccumbit leftori Senttn- 

77. 132. See alfo Sect. ix. p. 291. infr. *' tiarum Parifiis, Sec." Rog. Bacon. 

' They both flourifhed about the year apud A. Wood, Hift. Antlq. Univ. Oxon; 

J 150. i. p. 53. Lombard was the auiiior of the 

» <' Baccalaureus qui legit textum (fc. S. Sentences. 



Nor was the profeilion of the civil and canonical laws a 
fmall impediment to the propagation of thofe letters which 
humanife the mind, and cultivate the manners. I do not 
mean to deny, that the accidental difcovery of the imperial 
code in the twelfth century, contributed in a confiderable 
degree to civiUfe Europe, by 'introducing, among other be- 
neficial confequences, more legitimate ideas concerning the 
nature of government and the adminiftration of juftice, by 
creating a neceffity of transferring judicial decrees from an 
illiterate nobility to the cognifance of fcholars, by lefiening 
the attachment to the military profeflion, and by giving ho- 
nour and importance to civil employments : but to fuggeft, 
that the mode in v/hich this invaluable fyftem of jurifpru- 
dence was fludied, proved injurious to polite literature. It 
was no fooner revived, than it was received as a fcholaflic 
fcience, and taught by regular profefTors, in moft of the 
univerfities of Europe. To be ikilled in the theology of 
the fchools was the chief and general ambition of fcholars : 
but at the fame time a knowledge of both the laws was 
become an indifpenfable requifite, at leaft an eflential re- 
commendation, for obtaining the moft opulent ecclefiaftical 
dignities. Hence it was cultivated with univerfal avidity. 
It became fo confiderable a branch of ftudy in the plan of 
academical difcipline, that twenty fcholars out of feventy were 
deftined to the ftudy of the civil and canon laws, in one of 
the moft ample colleges at Oxford, founded in the year 1385. 
And it is eafy to conceive the pedanty with which it was 
purfued in thefe feminaries during the middle ages.- It was 
treated with the fame fpirit of idle fpeculation which ha'd 
been carried into philofophy and theology, it was over- 
whelmed with endlefs commentaries which difclaimed all 
elegance of language, and ferved only to exercife genius, 
as it aff"orded materials for framing the flimfy labyrinths of 




It was not indeed probable, that thefe attempts in elegant 
literature which I have mentioned fhould have any per- 
manent effects. The change, like a fudden revolution in 
government, was too rapid for duration. It was moreover 
premature, and on that account not likely to be lading. 
The habits of fuperftition and ignorance were as yet too 
powerful for a reformation of this kind to be effefted by a 
few polite fcholars. It was neceflary that many circumftances- 
and events, yet in the womb of time, fliould take place, 
before the minds of men could be fo far enlightened as to 
receive thefe improvements. 

But perhaps inventive poetry lofl nothing by this relapfe. 
Had clafTical tafle and judgment been now eftablifhed, ima- 
gination would have fuffered, and too early a check would 
have been given to the beautiful extravagancies of romantic 
fabling. In a word, truth and reafon would have chafed 
before their time thofe fpe6lres of illufive fancy, fo pleafmg 
to the imagination, which delight to hover in the gloom of 
ignorance and fuperftition, and which form fo confiderable 
a part of the poetry of the fucceeding centuries. 



H I S T O R Y 

O F 



TH E Saxon language fpoken in England, is diflin- 
guifhed by three feveral epochs, and may therefore 
be divided into three diale6ls. The firft of thefe is 
that which the Saxons ufed, from their entrance into this 
iiland, till the irruption of the Danes, for the fpace of three 
hundred and thirty years \ This has been called the Britifh 
Saxon : and no monument of it remains, except a fmall me- 
trical fragment of tlie genuine Caedmon, inferted in Alfred's 
verfion of the Venerable Bede's ecclefiaflical hiflory ^ The 

* The Saxons came into England A. D» thus. It is Frankifh. See Brit. Muf. 

450. MSS. Cotton. Calig. A. 7, membran. 

'' Lib.iv. cap. 24. Some have improperly oftavo. This book is fuppofed to have be- 

refeired to this dialedl the Harmony of longed to king Canute. Eight richly illu- 

THE FOUR GospELs,in theCottonlibrary: minated hiibrical pidlures are bound up with 

the ftyle of which approaches in purity and it, evidently taken from another manufcript, 

antiquity to that of the Codex Argen- but probably of the age of king Stephen. 

Vol. I. B fecond 




fecond is the Danifli Saxon, which prevailed from the 
Danifh to the Norman invafian'j and of which many con- 
fiderable fpecimens, both in verfe '^ and profe, are ftill pre- 
ferved : particularly, two literal verfions of the four gof- 
pels % and the fpurious Caedmon's beautiful poetical para- 
phrafe of the Book of Genefis ^, and the prophet Daniel. 
The third may be properly ftyled the Norman Saxon ; which 
began about the time of the Norman accelTion, and con- 
tinued beyond the reign of Henry the fecond ^. 

The lafl of thefe three dialects, with which thefe Annals of 
Englilh Poetry commence, formed a language extremely bar- 
barous, irregular, and intra6table j and confequently pro- 
mifes no 'very ftriking fpecimens in any fpecies of compofi- 
tion. Its fubftance was the Danifli Saxon, adulterated with 
French. The Saxon indeed, a language fubfifting on uni- 
form principles,- and pelifhed by poets^ and theologifls, how- 
ever corrupted by the Danes, had much perfpicuity, flrength, 
and harmony : but the French imported by the Conqueror 
and his people, was a confufed jargon of Teutonic, Gaulifh, 
and vitiated Latin. In this flu(5luating flate of our national 
fpeech, the French predominated. Even before the conqueft 
the Saxon language began to fall into contempt, and the 
French, or Frankifh, to be fubflituted in its Head : a circum- 
ftance, which at once facilitated and foretold the Norman 
acceflion. In the year 652, it was the common pra6lice of 

•= A. D. 1066. 

■* See Hickef. Thef. Ling. Vett. Sept. 
P. i. cap. xxi. pag, 177. AndPrxfat. fol. 
xiv. The curious reader is alfo referred to 
a Danifh Saxon poem, celebrating the wars 
which Beowulf, a noble Dane, defcended 
from the royal ftem of Scyldinge, waged 
;igainft the kings of Swedeland. MSS. 
Cotton, ut fupr. Vitell. A. 15. Cod. 
membran. ix. fol. 130. Compare, writ- 
ten in the flyle of Caedmon, a fragment of an 
ode in praife of the exploits of Brithnoth, 
Offa's ealdorman, or general, in a battle 
fought againft the Danes. Ibid, 0th. A. 

12. Cod. membran. 4to. iii. Brithnoth^ 
the hero of this piece, a Northumbrian, 
died in the year 99 1 . 

« MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. Cod. mem- 
bran. in Pyxid. 410 grand, quadrat. And 
MSS. Cotton, ut fupr. Otho. Nor. D. 4. 
Both thefe manufcripts were written and or- 
namented in the Saxon times, and are o£ 
the higheft curioiity and antiquity. 

' Printed by Junius, Amft. 1655. The 
greateft part of the Bodleian manufcript of 
this book, is believed to have been written' 
about A. D. 1000. — Cod. Jun. xi. mem- 
bran. fol.. s He died I189. 



the Anglo-Saxons, to fend their youth to the monafteries of 
France for education " : and not only the language, but the 
manners of the French, were efleemed the moft polite accom- 
plifhments *. In the reign of Edward the ConfefTor, the refort 
of Normans to the Englifh court was fo frequent, that the 
afFe6lation of imitating the Frankifh cuftoms became almoft 
univerfal : and even the lower clafs of people were ambitious 
of catching the Frankifh idiom. It was no difficult tafk for 
the Norman lords to banifh that language, of which the na- 
tives began to be adfurdly afhamed. The new invaders com- 
manded the laws to be adminiftered in French ". Many char- 
ters of monafteries were forged in Latin by the Saxon monks, 
for the prefent fecurity of their poiTeffions, in confequence 
of that averfion which the Normans profefTed to the Saxon 
tongue '. Even children at fchool were forbidden to read in 
their native language, and inftrudted in a knowledge of the 
Norman only ", In the mean time we fhould have fome re- 
gard to the general and political ftate of the nation. The 
natives were fo univerfally reduced to the loweft condition of 
neglefl and indigence, that the Englifh name became a term of 
reproach : and feveral generations elapfed, before one family 
of Saxon pedigree was raifed to any diflinguiflied honours, 
or could fo much as attain the rank of baronage". Among 

^ Dug. Mon. i. 89. fore the monks were compelled to the piouj 
^ Ingulph. Hift. p. 62. fub. ann. 1043-. fraud of forging them in Latin : and great 
'■^ But there is a precept in Saxon from numbers of tbefe forged Latin charters, till 
William the firfr, to the fherifF of Somer- lately fnppofed original, are ftill extant, 
fetfhire. Hickef. Thef. i. par. i. pag. 106. See Spelman, in Not. ad Concil. Anglic, 
See alfo Praefat. ibid. p. xv. p. 125. Stillingfl. Orig. Ecclef Britann. 
^ The Normans, who practiced every p. 1 4. Marfham, Pr^efat. ad Dugd. Mo- 
fpecious expedient to plunder the monks, naft. And Wharton, Angl. Sacr. vol. ii. 
<iemanded a fight of the written evidences Pr2:fat. p. ii. iii. iv. Sec alfo Ingulph. 
•of their lands. The monks well knew, p. 512. Launoy and Mabillon have treat- 
that it would have been ufelefs or impoli- ed this fubjedt with great learning and 
tic to have produced thefe evidences or penetration. 

charters, in the original Saxon; as the "" Ingulph. p. 7 1 . fub. ann. 1066. 

Normans not only did not underfland, but " See Brompt. Chron. p. 1026. Abb. 

>vould have received with contempt, infhru- Rieval. p. 339. 
«ient6 written in. that language. There- 

B 2. o.t]ier 


other inftances of that abfolute and voluntary fubm'ifHon,, 
with which our Saxon anceftors received a foreign yoke, it 
appears that they fuffered their hand-writing, to fall into diC- 
€redit and difufe ° j which by degrees became fo difficult 
and obfolete, that few befide the oldefl men could under- 
ftand the chara(5ters^ In the year 1095, Wolflan, bifliop 
of Worcefter, was depofed by the arbitrary Normans : it was. 
obje6led againft him, that he was " a fuperannuated Englifh. 
" idiot, who could not fpeak French V It is true,, that in 
fome of the monafteries, particularly at Croyland and Tavif- 
tocke, founded by Saxon princes, there were regular precep- 
tors in the Saxon language : but this inflitution was fuffered 
to remain after the conqueft, as a matter only of intereft. 
and neceffity. The religious could not otherwife have un- 
derftood their original charters. William's fucceffor, Henry 
the firft, gave an inftrument of confirmation to Willianr 
archbifhop of Canterbury, which was written in the Saxon 
language and letters '. Yet this is almoft a fingle example. 
That monarch's motive was perhaps political : and he feems, 
to have pra6lifed this expedient with a view of obliging his 
qu^en, who was of Saxon lineage j or with a defign of flat- 
tering his Englifh fubje6ls, and of fecurlng liis title already 
flrengthened by a Saxon match, in confequence of fo fpecious: 
and popular an artifice. It was a common and indeed a 
very natural pra6lice, for the tranfcribers of Saxon books,, to 
change the Saxon orthography for the Norm-an, and to fub- 
ftitute in the place of the original Saxon, Norman words and 

" Ingulph, p. 85. 

P Ibid. p. 98. fub. ann. 1091. 

1 Matt. Parif. fub. ann. 

' H. Wharton, Auftar. Hiftor. Dog- 
mat, p. 388. The learned Mabillon is 
miftaken in afTerting, that the Saxon way 
of writing was entirely abolifhed in Eng- 
land at the time of the Norman conqueft. 
See Mabillon. De Re Diplomat, p. 52. 
The French anticj^uarics arc fond of this 

notion. There are Saxon charadlers m 
Herbert Lofmga's charter for founding the 
church of Norwich. Temp. Will. Ruf, A. 
D. II 10. See Lambarde's Diftion. V. 
Norwich. See alfo Hickef. Thefaur. i.. 
Par. i. p. 149. See alfo Prsfat. p. xvi. 
An intermixture of the Saxon charafter is 
common in Englifh and Latin manufcripts,. 
before the reign of Edward the third : but 
of a few types only. 




phrafes. A remarkable inftance of this liberty, which fome- 
times perplexes and mifleads the critics in Anglo-Saxon litera- 
ture, appears in a voluminous colle6lion of Saxon homilies, 
preferved in the Bodleian library, and written about the time 
of Henry the fecond '. It was- with the Saxon chara6lers, 
as with the fignature of the crofs in public deeds j which 
were changed into the Norman mode of feals and fubfcrip- 
tions '. The Saxon was probably fpoken in the country, 
yet not without various adulterations from the French : the 
courtly language was French, yet perhaps with fome veftiges 
of the vernacular Saxon. But the nobles, in the reign of 
Henry the fecond, conftantly feiit their children into France, 
left they fhould contrail habits of barbarifm in their fpeech, 
which could not have been avoided in an Englifh education "» 
Robert Holcot, a learned. Dominican friar, confelTes, that in 
the beginning of the reign of Edward the third, there was 
no inftitution of children in the old EngliOi : he complains, 
that they Erfl. learned the French, and from the French the 
Latin language. This he obferves to have been a pra6lice 
introduced by the Conqueror, and to have remained ever 
fnice "". There is a curious pafTage relating to this fubjecl irt 
Trevifa's tranilation of Hygden's Polychronicon ". " Chil- 
" dren in fcole, agenft the ufage and manir of all other na^ 
*' tions, beeth compelled for to leve hire owne langage, and 
*' for to conftrue hir lefTons^and hire thynges in Frenches 

and fo they haveth fethe Normans came firfl into Engelond. 

Alfo gentilmen children beeth taught to fpeke Frenfche, 

from the tyme that they bith rokked in here cradell, and. 

kunneth fpeke and play with a childes broche : and uplon- 



» MSS; Bodl. NE. F. 4. 12. Cod. niem> "^ Left, in Libr. Sapient. Left. ii. Parif, 

bran. fol. 1518. 4to. 

* Yet fome Norman charters have the " Lib. i. cap. 59. MSS. Coll. S. Johan. 

crofs. Cantabr. But I think it is printed by Cax- 

" Gervaf Tilbur. de Otils ImperiaL ton and Wynkyn de Worde. Robert of.- 

MSS. Bibl. Bodl. lib, iii. See du Chefne, Gloucefter, who wrote about 1280, fays 

ni. p. 36 j» muck the fame, edit. Hearne, p. 364. 

'' d.lfil'ha 











" diffche ^ men will likne himfelf to gentylmen, and fondeth * 
** with greet befynelTe for to fpeke Frenfche to be told of. 
** This maner was moche ufed to for firft deth ^ and is 
fith fome dele changed. For John Cornewaile a mailler of 
grammer, changed the lore in grammer fcole, and con- 
{lru6lion of Frenfche into Englifche : and Richard Pen- 
criche lernede the manere techynge of him as other men of 
Pencriche. So that now, the yere of oure Lorde a thoiifandthre 
hujtdred and four fcore and Jive ^ and of the feconde Kyng Ri- 
chard after the conqueft nyne, and [in] alle the grammere 
fcoles of Engelond children lereth Frenfche and conftruethj 
and lerneth an Englifche, ^&c." About the fame time, or 
rather before, the ftudents of our univerfities, were ordered 
to converfe in French or Latin \ The latter was much af- 
fected by the Normans. AUthe Norman accompts were in 
Latin. The plan of the great royal revenue-rolls, now 
called the pipe-rolls, were af their conftru6lion, and in that 
language. But from the declenfion of the barons, and pre- 
valence of the commons, moil of whom were of Englifh 
anceftry, the native language of England gradually gained 
ground : till at length the interefl of the commons fo far 
fucceeded with Edward the third, that an a6l of parliament 
was palled, appointing all pleas and proceedings of law to 
be carried on in Englifh ^ : although the fame fbatute de- 

y Country. ^ Delights, tries. * Time. 

'° In the ftatutes of Oriel College in 
Oxford, it is ordered-5 that the fcholars, or 
'fellows, " fiqua inter fe proferant, coUoquio 
** Latino, vel faltem Gallico, perfruantur," 
See Hearne's Trokelowe, pag, 298. Thefe 
ftatutes were given 23 Mail, A. D. 1328. 
. I find much the fame injun£lion in the fta- 
tutes of Exeter College, Oxford, given 
about 1330. Where they are ordered to 
life, " Romano aut Gallico faltem fermone." 
'Hearne's MSS. Colleft. num. 132. pag. 
73. Bibl. Bodl. But in Merton College 
ftatutes, mention is made of the Latin only- 
In cap. X. They were given 1271. This 
t/as alfo common in the greater monafteries. 

In the Tegiftef of Wykeham, bifhop of 
Winchefter, the domicellus of the Prior of 
S. Swythin's at Winchefter, is ordered to 
addrefs the bilhop, on a certain occafion, 
in French, A. D. 1398. Regiftr. Par. iii. 
foJ. 177. 

"^ But the French formularies and terms 
of law, and particularly the French feudal 
phrafeology, had taken too deep root to be 
thus haftily aboliftied. Hence, long after 
the reign of Edward the third, many of 
our lawyers compofed their trafts in French . 
And reports and fome ftatutes were made 
in that language. See Fortefcut. dc Laud, 
Leg. Angl. cap. xlviii. 



crees, in the true Norman fplrit, that all fuch pleas and 
proceedings fhould be enrolled in Latin \ Yet this change 
did not reftore either the Saxon alphabet or language. It 
abolifhed a token of fubjedlion and difgrace ; and in fome 
degree, contributed to prevent further French innovations in 
the language then ufed, which yet remained in a compound 
ftate, and retained a confiderable mixture of foreign phra- 
feology. In the mean time, it mufl be remembered, that 
this corruption of the Saxon was not only ov/ing to the ad- 
miffion of new words, occafioned by the new alliance, but to 
changes of its own forms and terminations, arifmg from 
reafons which we cannot invefligate or explain ^ 

Among the manufcripts of Digby in the Bodleian library 
at Oxford, we find a religious or moral ode, confilling of 
one hundred and ninety-one ftanzas, which the learned 
Hickes places jull after the conqueft^: but as it contains few 
Norman terms, I am inclined to think, it of rather higher 
antiquity. In deference however to fo great an authority, 
I am obliged to mention it herej and efpecially as it exhibits 
a regular lyric ftrophe of four lines, the fecond and fourth 
of which rhyme together. Although thefe four lines may be 
perhaps refolved into two Alexandrines ^ a meafure concern- 
ing which more will be faid hereafter, and of which it will 
be fufficient to remark at prefent, that it appears to have 
been ufed very early. For 1 cannot recoUecSl any llrophes of 
this fort in the elder Runic or Saxon poetry ; nor in any 
©f the old Frankifh poems, particularly of Otfrid a monk 
of WeifTenburgh, who turned the evangelical hiflory into- 
Frankifh verfe about the ninth century, and has left feveral 

•• Pulton's Statut. 36 Edw. iii. This f Ling. Vett. Thef. Part i. p. 22^. 

was A. D. 1363. The firft Englifh in- There is another copy not mentioned by 

ftrument in Rymer is dated i 368. Feed, vii, Hickes, in Jefiis College library at Oxford, 

p. 526. MSS. 85. "infr. citat. This is entitled, 

« This fubjeft will be farther illuftrated TraSIaius quidam in Angli(o, The Digby 

in- the next fediooi manufcrigt has no title. 




hymns in that language ^ of Strieker who celebrated the 
atchievements of Charlemagne % and of the anonymous au- 
thor of the metrical life of Anno, archbifliop of Cologn. 
The following flanza is a fpecimen "*. 

' Sende God biforen him man 
The while he may to hevene. 
For betere is on elmefle biforen 
Thanne ben after fevene ". 

That is, " Let a man fend his good works before him to 
" heaven while he can : for one alms-giving before death is 
" of more value than feven afterwards." The verfes perhaps 
might have been thus written as two Alexandrines. 

Send God biforen him man the while he may to hevene. 
For betere is on almefTe biforen, than ben after fevene *. 

Yet alternate rhyming, applied without regularity, and as 
rhymes accidentally prefented themfelves, was not uncommon 
in our early poetry, as will appear from other examples. 

Hickes has printed a fatire on the monadic profeflion ; 
w^hich clearly exemplifies the Saxon adulterated by the Nor- 
man, and was evidently written foon after the conquefl, at 

^ See Petr. Lambec. Comment, de BIbl. 
Caefar. Vindebon. pag. 418. 457. 

s See Petr. Lambec. ubi fupr. lib. ii. cap. 
5. There is a circumftance belonging to 
the antient Frankifh verification, which, 
as it greatly illuftrates the fubjedl of allite- 
ration, deferves notice here. Otfrid's de- 
dication of his Evangelical hiftory to 
Lewis the firil, king of the oriental France, 
confiils of four lined ftanzas in rhyming 
couplets: but the firft and laftline of every 
flanza begin and end with the fame letter : 
and the letters of the title of the dedica- 
tion refpedlively, and the word of the lafl: 
line of every tetraftic. Flaccus lllyrius 
publilhed this work of Otfrid at Bafil, 
J 57 1. But I think it has been flnce more 

correiElly printed by Johannes Schilterus. 
It was written about the year 880, Otfrid 
was the difciple of Rhabanus Maurus. 

*> St. xiv. 

' Senbe job bipopen hun man, 
jjehpile he mai ao heuene ; 
Fop berejne ly on elmej-j-e bipopen 
©anne ben aprep peuene. 
This is perhaps the true reading, from the 
Trinity manufcript at Cambridge, written 
about the reign of Henry the fccond, or 
Richard the firft. Cod. mcmbran. 8vo. 
Traaat. L See Abr. Wheloc. Ecclef. Hill. 
Bed. p. 25. 114. 

^ MSS. Digb. A. 4. membran. 

' As I recoiled, the whole poem is .t"has 
exhibited in the 'J'rinity manufcript. 



leaft before the reign of Henry the fecond. The poet begins 
with defcribing the land of indolence or luxury. 

Fur in fee, bi weft Spaynge, 

Is a lond ihote Cokaygne : 

Ther nis lond under hevenriche " 

Of wel of godnis hit iliche. 

Thoy paradis bi miri "^ and brigt 

Cokaygn is of fairir figt. 

What is there in paradis 

Bot grafs, and flu re, and greneris ? 

Thoy there be joy% and gret dute*^, 

Ther nis met, bot frute. 

Ther nis halle, bure % no bench ; 

But watir manis thurft to quench, &c. 

In the following lines there is a vein of fatirical imagina- 
tion and fome talent at defcription. The luxury of the 
monks is reprefented under the idea of a monaftery conftruc- 
ted of various kinds of delicious and coftly viands. 

Ther is a wel fair abbei. 
Of white monkes and of grei, 
Ther beth boures and halles : 
All of pafteus beth the walles 
Of fleis of fifTe, and a rich met, 
The likefullift that man mai et. 
Fluren cakes beth the fchingles ^ alle. 
Of church, cloifter, hours, and halle. 
The pinnes ^ beth fat podinges 
Rich met to princes and to kinges.>— 
Ther is a cloyfter fair and ligt, 
Brod and lang of fembli figt. 

* Heaven. Sax. *= loi. Orlg. '' Pleafure. ^Buttery. 

^ Merry, thearful. ** Although Para- ^ Shingles. ** The tiles, or covering of 

«« dife is chearful and bright, Cokayne is a " the houfe, are of rich cakes." 
<* much more beautiful place.'* s The Pinnacles. 

Vol. I. C The 




The pilers of that clofler alle 
Beth iturned of criflale. 
With harlas and capital 
Of grene jafpe and red coraT. 
In the praer is a tree 
Swithe likeful for to fe. 
The rote is gingeur and galingalCj. 
The iiouns betli al fedwale. *;^^ 
Trie maces beth the flurCj, 
The rind canel of fvvete odure : 
The frute gilofre of gode fmakke,, 
Of cucubes ther nis no lakke. — 
There beth iiii wilUs ^ in the abbei 
Of trade and. halwei. 
Of baume and eke piement ', 
Ever ernend ^ to rigt rent ' ^ 
Of thai ftremis al the molde^ 
Stonis pretiufe " and golde, 
Ther is faphir, and uniune, . 
Carbuncle and aftiune, 
Smaragde, lugre, and prafliunCj 
Beril, onyx, topofmne, 
Amethifte and crifoHte, 
Calcedun and epetite ". 
Ther beth birddes mani and fale 
Throftill, thruifTe, and nigtingale, 
Chalandre, and wodwale, 
And othir briddes without tale. 
That flinteth never bi her migt 
Miri to ling dai and nigt. 
\Nonmdla defu?it.\ 

•'Fountains. ^ to Europe, was full of the doftrine of pre- 

* This word will be explained at- large cious ftones. 
hereafter. n Our old poets are never -To happy as 

^ Running. Sax. when they can get into a catalogue of» 

' Courfe. Sax. things or names. See Obfervat. on the; 

*» The Arabiaa Philofophy imported in=- Fairj^ Queen, i. p. 1 40, 



Yite I do yow mo to witte, 

The gees iroftid on the fpitte, 

Fleey to that abbai, god hit wot, 

And gredith \ gees al bote al bote, &c. 

Our author then makes a pertinent tranfition to a convent 

-of nuns 5 which he fuppofes to be very commodioufly fitua- 

ted at no great diflance, and in the fame fortunate region of 

-indolence, eafe, and affluence. 
* . 

An other abbai is ther bi 
For loth a gret nunnerie ; 
Up a river of fwet milk 
Whar is plente grete of filk. 
When the fummeris dai is bote, 
The yung nunnes takith a bote 
And doth ham forth in that river 
Both with oris and with ftere : 
Whan hi beth fur from the abbei 
Hi makith him nakid for to plei. 
And leith dune in to the brimme 
And doth him lleilich for to fwimme : 
The yung monkes that hi feeth 
Hi doth ham up and forth hi fleeth, 
And comith to the nunnes anon. 
And euch monk him takith on, 
And fnellich '' berith forth bar prei 
To the mochill grei abbei ''j 
And techith the nonnes an oreifun 
• With jambleus [ up and dun '. 

° Crleth. Gallo-Franc. ^ Lafclvlous motions. Gambols. Fr. 

P Quick, quickly. Gallo-Franc. Gambiller. 

^ '♦ To the great Abbey of Grey Monks." ^ Hickef. Thefaur. i. Part i. p. 23 1 . feq. 

C 2 This 



This poem was defigned to be fung at public feflivals ' : a 
pra6tice, of which many inftances occur in this work ; and 
concerning which it may be fufficient to remark at prefent, 
that a JocuLATOR or bard, was an officer belonging to the 
court of William the Conqueror ". 

Another Norman Saxon poem cited by the fame induf- 
trious antiquary, is entitled The Life of Saint Margaret. 
The ftru(5lure of its verfification confiderably differs from 
that in the laft-mentioned piece, and is like the French 
Alexandrines. But I am of opinion, that a paufe, or divi- 
fion, was intended in the middle of every verfe : and in this 
refpe6l, its verfification refembles alfo that of Albion's Eng- 
land, or Drayton's Polyolbion, which was a fpecies very com- 
mon about the reign of queen Elifabeth '^. The rhymes are 
alfo continued to ever)! fourth line. It appears to have been 
written about the time of the crufades. It begins thus : 

Olde ant " yonge I priet ^ ou, our folies for to lete, 
Thinketh on god that yef ou wite, our funnes to bete. 
Here I mai tellen ou, wit wordes faire and fwete, 
The vie ^ of one maiden was hoten * Margarete. 
Hire fader was a patriae, as ic ou tellen may, 
In Auntioge wif eches ^ I in the falfe lay, 
Deves godes " ant dombe, he fervid nit and day. 
So deden mony othere that fingeth welaway. 

* As appears from this line. 

Lordinges gode and hende, &c. 
Jt is in MSS. More, Cantabrig. 784. f. i. 

" His lands are cited in DoomfdayBook. 
" Gloucesterscire. Berdic, Joculator 
*' Regis, habet iii. villas et ibi v. car. nil 
" redd." See Anllis, Ord. Gart. ii. 304. 

^^ It is worthy of remark, that we find 
in the coUedion of ancient northern monu- 
ments, publiflaed by M. Biorner, a poem 
of fome length, faid by that author to have 

been compofed in the twelfth or thirteenth 
century. This poem is profefledly in rhyme,, 
and the meafure like that of the heroic 
Alexandrine of the French poetry. See 
Mallet's Introd. Dannem. &c. ch. xiii. 

* And. Fr. 

y Idireft, Fr. " ladvifeyou, your, &c." 

* Life. Fr. ^ Called. Saxon. 
^ Chofe a wife. Sax. ** He was mar- 

** ried in Antioch." 

t «« Deaf gods, &:c." 




Theodofius was in nome, on Crifte ne levede he noutt. 
He levede on the falfe godes, that weren with honden wroutt. 
Tho that child fculde criftine ben it com well in thoutt, 
Ebed " wen it were ibore, to deth it were ibroutt, &c. 

In the fequel, Olibrius, lord of Antioch, who is called a 
Saracen, falls in love with Margaret : but fhe being a chrif- 
tian, and a candidate for canonization, reje6ls his foUicita- 
tions and is thrown into prifon. 

Meiden Margarete one nitt in prifon lai 
Ho com biforn Olibrius on that other dai. 
Meiden Margarete, lef up upon my lay, 
And Ihu that thou leveft on, thou do him al awey. 
Lef on me ant be my wife, ful wel the mai fpede. 
Auntioge and Afie fcaltou han to mede : 
Ciculaton "^ and purpel pall fcaltou have to wede: 
With all the metes of my iond ful vel I fcal the ^ fede. 

This piece was printed by Hickes from a manufcript in 
Trinity college library at Cambridge. It feems to belong to 
the manufcript metrical Lives of the Saints ^ which form a 
very confiderable volume, and were probably tranflated or pa- 
raphrafed from Latin or French profeinto Englifli rhyme be- 

1 In bed. 

^ Checklaton. See Obf. Fair. Q^i. 194. 

^ Hickef. i. 225. The legend of Sehite 
Juliane in the Bodleian library is rather 
older, but of much the fame verfification. 
MSS. Bibl. Bodl. NE. 3. xi. membran. 
8vo. iii. fol. 36. This manufcript I believe 
to be of the age of Henry the third or king 
John : the compofition much earlier. It 
was tranflated from the Latin. Thefe are 
the five laft lines. 

Jjphen brihtm o bomej-bei Jimbjje^ hif 

S'nb jjeppeS pajt buf ti chepto hellene heare, 
]?£ more beon a copn 1 gobej- guloene e&ene. 

De tunbe Sijf op larm "co Enjiijrche lebene 
Iffnb he jjaer her leapc onjjrar pjja ap he 
cu]3e. S:CDEN. 

That is, " When the judge at doomf- 
" day winnows his wheat and drives the 
" dufty chaff into the heat of hell ; may 
*' there be a corner in god's golden Eden 
" for him who turned this book into 
" Latin, &c." 

s The fame that are mentioned by 
Hearne, from a manufcript of Ralph Shel- 
don. See Hearne's Petr. Langt. p. 542. 
607 608. 609. 611. 628. 670. Saint 
Winifred's Life is printed from the fame 
coUeftion by biftiop Fleetwood, in his Life 
and Miracles o/S. Winifred, p.i25.ed.X7i3. 




fore the year 1200 ^ We are fure that they were written 
after the year 1 169, as they contain the Life of Saint Tho- 
mas of Becket '. In the Bodleian Ubrary are three manu- 
fcript copies of thefe Lives of the Saints'', in which the 
Life of Saint Margaret conftantly occurs j but it is not always 
exaftiy the fame with this printed by Hickes. And on the 
whole, the Bodleian Lives feem inferior in point of anti- 
quity. I will here give fome extra6ls never yet printed. 

^ It is in fa£l a metrical hiftory of the 
feflivals of the whole year. The life of 
the refpeftive Saint is defcribed under every 
Saint's day, and the inftitutions of fome 
fuudays, and feafts not taking their rife 
from faints, are explained, on the plan of 
the Legenda Jiirea^ written by Jacobus de 
"\'oragine, archbifnop of Genoa, about the 
year 1 290, from which Caxton, through 
the medium of a French verfion entitled 
Legend Dorec, tranflated his Golden Legend. 
The Fejlival, or FejUall, printed by Wyn- 
kin de Worde, is a book of the fame fort, 
yet with homilies intermixed. See MSB. 
Harl. 2247. fol. and 2371. 410. and 2391. 
«^to. and 2402. 4to. and 2800. feq. 
Manufcript lives of Saints, detatched, and 
not belonging -to this colleftion, are fre- 
quent in libraries. The Fit^ Patrum were 
originally drawn from S. Jerome and Jo- 
hannes ^Caffianus. In Grefliam college li- 
brary are metrical lives of ten Saints chiefly 
from the Golden Legend, by Olberne Boken- 
ham, an Augufllne canon in the abby of 
Stoke-clare in Suffolk, tranfcribed by 
"Thomas Burgh at Cambridge 1477. The 
Life of S. Katharine appears to have been 
compofed in 1445. MSS. Coll. Grelh. 315. 
The Frencli tranflation of the Legenda Au- 
rea was made by Jehan de Vignay, a monk, 
foon after i 300. 

' Alhmolc cites this Life, Inillt. Ord. 
Gart. p. 21. And he cites S. Brandon's Life, 
p. 507. Alhmole's manufcript was in the 
hands of Silas Taylor. It is now in his 
Mufcum at Oxford. MSS. Alhm. 50. 

"^ MSS. Bodl. 779,— Laud, L. 70. And 
they make a confiderable part of a prodi- 
gious folio volume, beautifully written on 
vellum, and elegantly illuminated, where 

they have the following title, which alfo 
comprehends other antient Englifli religious 
poems " Here begynnen the tytles of the 
" book that is cald in Latyn tcmge Salus 
" An I ME, and in Engliih tonge Sowle- 
" HELE." It was given to the Bodleian 
library by Edv.'ard Vernon efquire, foon after 
the civil war I fhall cite it under the title 
of MS. Vernon. Although pieces not 
abfolutely religious are fometimes intro- 
duced, the fcheme of the compiler or tranf- 
criber feems to have been, to form a com- 
plete body of legendary and feriptural hif- 
tory in verfe, or rather to colleft into one 
view all the religious poetry he could find. 
Accordingly the Li'ves of t}>e Saints, a dif- 
tinft and large work of itfclf, properly 
coniHtuted a part of his plan. There is an- 
other copy of the Liins of the Saints in the 
Britifl\ Mufeum, MSS. Harl. 2277. ^^^ 
in Aflimole's Mufeum, MSS. Afhm. ut fupr. 
I think this manufcript is alfo in Bennet col- 
lege library. The Lives feem to be placed 
according to their refpeftive feftivals in the 
courfe of the year. The Bodleian copy 
(marked 779.) is a thick folio, containing 
3 10 leaves. The variatiop_s in tliefe manu- 
fcripts leeni chiefly owiag to the tranfcribers. 
Tht Life of Saint Margaret in MSS. Bodl. 
779. begins much like that of Trinity library 
■at Cambridge. 

Old ant yonge I preye you your folyis for to 
lete, &c. 

I mull add here, that in the Harleian li- 
brary, a few Lives, from the fame collec- 
tion of Li-ues of the Saifits, occur, MSS. 
2250. 23. f. 72. b. feq. chart, fol. See 
alfo ib. 19. f. 48. Thefe Lives are ia 
French rhymes, ib. 2253. f. k 



From the Life of Saint S within. 

^ Seint Swythan the confefTour was her of Engelondci 

Bifyde Wyncheftre he was ibore, as ich undirftonde : 

Bi the kynges dei Egbert this goode was ibore, 

That tho was kyng of Engelonde, and fomedele eke bifore p 

The eihtethe he was that com aftur Kinewolfe the kynge, 

That feynt Berin dtide to criilendome in Engelonde furfb. 

bi7nge : 
Seynt Aiiften hedde bifore to criftendom 1 brouht 
Athelbryt the goode kynge as al the londe nouht. 
Al fetthe "" hyt was that feynt Berin her bi well: wende, 
And tornede the kynge Kinewolfe as vr lorde grace fender: 
So that Egbert was kyng tho that Swythan was bore 
The eighth was Kinewolfe that fo long was bifore, &c. 
Seynt Swythan his bufliopricke to al goodneffe drough 
The towne alfo of Wyncheftre he amended inough, 
Ffor he lette the ftronge bruge withoute the tonne arere 
And fond therto lym and fton and the. workmen that ther; 

were- °. . 

From the Life of Samt Wolftan,- 

Seynt Wolllon byfTcop of Wirceter was then in IngelondC:,. 
Swithe holyman was all his lyf as ich onderftonde : 
The while he was a yonge childe good lyf hi ladde ynow, 
Whenne other children orne play toward cherche hi drow. 
Seint Edward was tho vr kyng, that now in heveiie is, 
And the biffcoppe of Wircefter Brytthege is hette I wis, &c,. 
BifTcop hym made the holi man feynt Edward vre kynge 
And undirfonge his dignitie, and tok hym cros and ringe.^. 

* Thus in MSS. Harl. fol, 78. 

Seint SwT))))in 'Se confefTour was here of Engelonde 

Biiide Wyncheftre hi was ibore- as ic vnderftonde. 
*" Since*- " £._gi. MS. Vernon. 


His bufhopreke he wuft wel, and eke his priorie. 
And forcede him to fei ve wel god and Seinte Marie. 
Ffour zer he hedde biffcop ibeo and not foUiche fyve 
Tho feynt Edward the holi kyng went out of this lyve. 
To gret reuge to al Engelonde, fo welaway the ftounde, 
Ffor ftrong men that come fithin and broughte Engelonde 

to grounde. 
Harald was fithen kynge with trefun, alas ! 
The crowne he bare of England which while hit was. 
As William baftard that was tho duyk of Normaundye 
Thouhte to winne Englonde thorufg ftrength and felonye : 
He lette hym greith foulke inouh and gret power with him nom, 
With gret flrengthe in the fee he him dude and to Engelonde 

He lette ordayne his oft wel and his baner up arerede. 
And deftruyed all that he fond and that londe fore aferde. 
Harald hereof tell kynge of Engelonde 
He let garke faft his ofte agen hym for to ftonde ; 
His baronage of Engelonde redi was ful fone 
The kyng to helpe and eke himfelf as riht was to done. 
The warre was then in Engelonde dolefull and ftrong inouh 
And heore either of othures man al to grounde flouh : 
The Normans and this Englifch men deiy of batayle nom 
There as the abbeye is of the batayle a day togedre com, 
To grounde thei fmiit and flowe alfo, as god yaf the cas, 
William Baftard was above and Harald hi neothe was ", 

From the Life of Saint Chriftopher. 

^ Seynt Criftofre was a Sarazin in the londe of Canaan, 
In no ftud by him daye mi fond non fo ftrong a man : 

« MS. Vernon, fol. 76. b. 
. P MSS. Harl. ut fupr. fol. loi. b. 

Scint Criftofre was Sarazin In Se lond of Canaan 

In no ftede hi his daye ne fond me fo ftrong a man 

Four and tuenti fet he was long and fiche and brod y-nou5, &c. 




Ffour and twenti feete he was longe, and thikk and brod 

Such a mon but he weore flronge methinketh hit weore wouh : 
A la cuntre where he was for him wolde fleo, 
Therforehym ythoughte that no man ageynft him fculde beo./ 
He feide he wolde with no man beo but with on that were, 
Hext lord of all men and undir hym non othir were. 

Afterwards he is taken into the fervice of a king. 

Criftofre hym ferved longe j 

The kynge loved melodye much of fithele '^ and of fonge : 
So that his jogeler on a dai biforen him gon to pleye fafle, 
And in a tyme he nemped in his fong the devil atte lafte : 
Anon fo the kynge that I herde he blelTed him anon, &c. ' 

From the Life of Saint Patrick. 

Seyn Pateryk com thoru godes grace to preche in Irelonde, 
To teche men ther ryt believe Jehu Cryfte to underftonde : 
So ful of wormes that londe he founde that no man ni 

myghte gon, 
In fom flede for wormes that he nas wenemyd anon ; 
Seynt Pateryk bade our lorde Cryft that the londe delyvered 

Of thilke foul wormis that none ne com there '. 

From the Life of Saint Thomas of Becket. 

Ther was Gilbert Thomas fadir name the trewe man and godc 
He lyved God and holi cherche fetthe he witte ondirftode '. 
The cros to the holi cherche in his zouthe he nom, 
. . . myd on Rychard that was his mon to Jerlem com. 

1 Fiddle. 'MS. Vernon, fol. 119. ' Bodl. MSS. 779. fol. 41. b. 

t MSS. Harl. fol. 195. b. 

Gilbert was Thomas fader name J)at true was and god 

And lovede god and holi church fij)j3e he wit underftod. 
This Harleian manufcript is imperfect in many parts. 

Vol. I. D Ther 


Ther hy dede here pylgrimage in holi ftedes fafle 
So that amoug Sarazyns hy wer nom at lafie, &c. * 

This legend of Saint Thomas ofBecketis exa6lly in the 
llyle of all the others 5 and as Becket was martyred in the 
latter part of the reign of Henry the fecond from hiftorical 
evidence, and as, from various internal marks, the language 
of thefe legends cannot be older than the tw^elfth century, 
I think we may fairly pronounce the Lives of the Saints 
to have been written about the reign of Richard the firft ''. 

Thefe metrical narratives of chriflian faith and perfe- 
verance feem to have been chiefly compofed for the pious 
amufement, and perhaps edification, of the monks in their 
cloifters. The fumptuous volume of religious poems which 
I have mentioned above ^, was undoubtedly chained in the 
cloifler, or church, of fome capital monaftery. It is not 
improbable that the novices were exercifed in reciting por- 
tions from thefe pieces. In the Britifh Mufeum ^, there is a 
fet of legendary tales in rhyme, which appear to have been 
folemnly pronounced by the prieft to the people on fundays 
and holidays. This fort of poetry * was alfo fung to the 

" MSS, Bodl. 779. f. 41. b. ^ That legends of faints were fung to 

^ Who died 1 199. In the Cotton library the harp at feafts, appears from T/je Life of 

I find the lives of Saint Jofaphas and Saint Saint Marine, MSS. Harl. 2253. fol. memb° 

Dorman : where the Norman feems to f. 64. b. 

predominate, although Saxon letters are Herketh hideward and beoth ftille, 

ufed. Brit. ?4uf MSS. Cort. Calig. A. ix. y praie ou zif hit be or wille. 

Cod. membran. 4to. ii. fol. 192. And ze fhule here of one virgin 

lei commence la 'vie be j^eint loj'aphaz. " That was ycleped faint Maryne. 

Ri uout vout; a nul bien sentendre And from various other inftances. 

Per effample poer mk apprenbre. Some of thefe religious poems contain the 

iii. fol. 213. b. Ici commence la 'vie de ufual addrefs of the minftrel to the com- 
Seint Dormanz. pany. As in a poem of our Saviour's de- 
La vertu beu xur tut luj^ •;| bure ^^ent into hell, and his difcourfe there with 
E rur mrz efc certeine epure. Sathanas the porter, Adam, Eve, Abra- 

Many legends and religious pieces in ham, &c. Mbb. ibid. f. 57. 

Norman rhyme were written about this Alle herkenneth to me now,, 

time. See MSS. Harl. 2253. f. i. membr. A ftrif wolle y tellen ou : 

fol. fupr. citat. p. 14. Of Jhefu and of Sathan, 

y Viz. MS. Vernon. Tho Jhefu was to hell y-gan. 

^ MSS. Harl. 2391. 70. The dialctfl Other proofs will occur occalionally. 
is perfedly northern. 



harp by the minftrels on fundays, inftead of the romantic 
fubjecls ufual at public entertainments \ 

In that part of Vernon's manufcript intitled Soulehele, 
we have a tranflation of the Old and New Teftament into 
verfe ; which I believe to have been made before the year 1 200. 
The reader will obferve the fondnefs of our anceftors for 
the Alexandrine : at leafl, I find the lines arranged in that 

Oure ladi and hire fuftur ftoden under the roode, 

And feint John and Marie Magdaleyn with wel fori moode : 

Vr ladi bi heold hire fwete fon i brouht in gret pyne, 

Ffor monnes gultes nouthen her and nothing for myne. 

Marie weop wel fore and bitter teres leet, 

The teres fullen uppon the flon doun at hire feet» 

Alas, my fon, for ferwe wel off feide heo 

Nabbe iche bote the one that hongufl on the treo ; 

So ful icham of ferwe, as any wommon may beo, 

That ifchal my deore child in all this pyne ifeo : 

How fchal I fone deore, how hail i yougt liven withouten the, 

Nufti nevere of ferwe nougt fone, what feyfl you me ? 

Then fpake Jhefus wordus gode to his modur dere, 

Ther he heng uppon the roode here I the take a fere, 

That trewliche fchal ferve ye, thin own cofin Jon, 

The while that you alyve beo among all thi fon : 

Ich the bote Jon, he feide, you wite hire both day and niht 

That the Gywes hire fon ne don hire non un riht. 

Seint John in the ftude vr ladi in to the temple nom 

God to ferven he hire dude fone fo he thider come. 

Hole and feeke heo duden good that lies founden thore 

Heo hire ferveden to bond ane foot, the lafs and eke the more. 

•* As I colleft from the following poem, The Sonday a day hit is 

MS. Vernon, fol. 229. That angels and archangels joyn i wis, 

T^e Vilions of Sej7it Paul nvon he 'vjas rapt More in that ilke day 

into Paradys. Then any odure, &c. 

Lufteneth lordynges leof and dere, 

Zc that wolcn of the Sonday here ; 

D 2 The 



The pore folke feire heo fedde there, heo {cgQ that hit was neode 
And the leke heo brougte to bedde and met and drinke goii 

heom beode. 
Wy at heore mihte yong and olde hire loveden bothe fyke 

and fer 
As hit was riht for alle and fumme to hire fervife hidden 

Jon hire was a trew feer, and nolde nougt from hire gOj 
He lokid hire as his ladi deore and what heo wolde hit was i do- 
Now blowith this newe fruyt that lat bi gon to fpringe. 
That to his kuynd heritage monkunne fchal bringe, 
This new fruyt of whom I fpeke is vre criftendome,. 
That late was on erthe ifow and latir furth hit com,. 
So hard and luthur was the lond of whom hit fcholde fpringe 
That wel unnethe eny rote men mougte theron bring, 
God hi was the gardener, "^ &c. 

In the archiepifcopal Hbrary at Lambeth, among other Nor- 
man-Saxon homilies in profe, there is a homily or exhortation 
on the Lord's prayer in verfe: which, as it was evidently 
tranfcribed rather before the reign of Richard the firft, we 
may place with fome degree of certainty before the year 1 185.. 

Vre feder that in hevene is. 
That is al fothfull I wis. 
Weo moten to theos weordes Ifeon 
That to live and to faule godc beon. 
That weo beon fwa his funes iborene 
That he beo feder and we him icoreae. 
That we don alle his ibeden 
And his wille for to reden, &c. 
Lauerde God we biddeth thus 
Mid edmode heorte gif hit us. 
That vre foule beo to the icore 
Noht for the fiefce for lore. 

c MS. Vernon, fol. 8. 



Dole us to biwepen vre funne 

That we ne flernen noht therunne 

And gif us, lauerd, that ilke gifte 

Thet we hes ibeten thurh holie fcrifte. amen \ 

In the valuable library of Corpus Chrifti college in Cam- 
bridge, is a fort of poetical biblical hillory, extracted from 
the books of Genefis and Exodus. It was probably compofed 
about the reign of Henry the fecond or Richard the firfl. 
But I am chiefly induced to cite this piece, as it proves the 
exceffive attachment of our earlieft poets to rhyme : they 
were fond of multiplying the fame final found to the moil 
tedious monotony j and without producing any efFe6l of 
elegance, flrength, or harmony. It begins thus ; 

Man og to luuen that rimes ren. 
The wifTed wel the loged men. 
Hu man may him wel loken 
Tho he ne be lered on no boken. 
Luuen god and ferven him ay 
For he it hem wel gelden may. 
And to al criflenei men 
Boren pais and iuue by twem. 
Than fal him almighti luuven. 
Here by nethen and thund abuuven, 
And given him blifTe and foules refte. 
That him fal eavermor leflen. 
Ut of Latin this fong is a dragen 
On Engleis fpeche on foche fagen, 
Criftene men ogen ben fo fagen. 
So fueles arn quan he it fen dagen. 
Than man hem telled foche tale 
Wid londes fpeche and wordes fmale 
Of bliffes dune, of forwes dale, 

^ Quart, minor. 185. Cod. membran. vi, f; 21. b. 



Quhu Lucifer that devel dwale 
And held him fperred in helles male, 
Til god him frid in manliched 
Dede mankinde bote and red. 
And unlwered al the fendes fped 
And halp thor he fag mikel ned 
Biddi hie fnigen non other led. 
Thog mad hie folgen idel hed. 
Fader gode of al thinge, 
Almightin louerd, hegeft kinge, 
Thu give me feli timinge 
To than men this werdes bigininge. 
The lauerd god to wurthinge 
Quether fo hie rede or finge \ 

We find this accumulation of identical rhymes in the 
Runic odes. Particularly in the ode of Egill cited above, 
entitled Egill's Ransom. In the Cotton library a poem is 
preferved of the fame age, on the fubje6ls of death, judg- 
ment, and hell torments, where the rhymes are fmgular, 
and deferve our attention. 

Non mai longe lives wene 

Ac ofte him lieth the wrench. 

Feir weither turneth ofte into reine 

And thunderliche hit maketh his blench, 

Tharfore mon thu the biwenche 

At fchal falewi thi grene. 

Weilawei ! nis kin ne queue 

That ne fchal drincke of deathes drench, 

Mon er thu falle of thi bench 

Thine funne thu aquench ^ 

■* MSS. R. 11. Cod. membran. oftavo. It feems to be in the northern dialeft. 
* Bibl. Cotton, MSS. CAtic A. ix,— vi. f. 243. 



To the fame period of our poetry, I refer a verfion of 
Saint Jerom's French pfalter, which occurs in the library of 
Corpus Chrifti college at Cambrige. The hundredth pfalm 
is thus tranflated. 

Mirthes to god al erthe that es 

Serves to louerd in faines. 

In go yhe ai in his fiht. 

In gladnes that is fo briht. 

Whites that louerd god is he thus 

He us made and our felf noht us. 

His folk and fliep of his fode : 

In gos his yhates that are gode : 

In fchrift his worches belive. 

In ympnes to him yhe fchrive. 

Heryhes his name for louerde is hende, 

In all his merci do in flrende and ftrande ^. 

In the Bodleian library there is a tranflation of the pfalms, 
which much refembles in flyle and meafure this jufl men- 
tioned. If not the fame, it is of equal antiquity. The hand- 
writing is of the age of Edward the fecond : certainly not 
later than his fucceiror. It alfo contains the Nicene creed ", 
and fome church hymns, verfified : but it is mutilated and 
imperfe6l. The nineteenth pfalm runs thus. 

Hevenes tellen godes blis 

And wolken fhewes bond werk his 

Dai to dai word rife riht. 

And wifdom fhewes niht to niht. 

Of whilke that noht is herde thar fteven. 

In al the world out yhode thar corde 

And in ende of erthe of tham the worde. 

8 O. 6. Cod. membr. 4to. ready printed, I refer the reader. Thefaur. 

•• Hickes has printed a metrical verfion P. i. p. 233. I believe it to be of the age 

of the creed of St. Athanafius. To whom, of Henry the fecond. 
to avoid prolix and obfolete fpecimens al- 

. , . funne 

24 ,T H E H I S T O R Y O F 

. . . funne he fette his telde to ftande 

And b. bridegroome a. he als of his lourd commande \ 

He gladen als den to renne the wai 

Ffrem heighift heven hei outcoming ai, 

And his gairenning tilheht fete, 

Ne is qwilke mai him from his hete. 

Lagh of louerd unwenncd ifTe, 

Turnand faules in to bUfTe : 

Witnefs of lourd is ever true 

Wifdom fervand to littell newe : 

Lourd's rihtwifneffe riht hertes famand, 

But of lourd is liht eghen lighand, 

Drede of lourde hit heli es 

Domes of love ful fori fothe are ai 

Rihted in thamfalve ar thai. 

More to be beyorned over golde 

Or fton derwurthi that is holde : 

Wei fwetter to mannes wombe 

Ovir honi and to kombe '. 

This is the beginning of the eighteenth pfalm. 

I fal love the Lourd of blifle 
And in mine Lourd feftnes min effe, 
And in fleming min als fo 
And in lefler out of wo ". 

I will add another religious fragment on the crucifixion, 
in the fhorter meafure, evidently coeval, and intended to be 
fung to the harp. 

Vyen i o the rode fe 
Jefu nayled to the tre, 
Jefu mi lefman. 

^ Sic. * MSS. Bodl. pergamen. fol. 425. f. 5. ^ Ibid. f. 4. 



Ibunder bloe and blodi, 
An hys moder ftant him bi, 
Wepand, and Johan : 
Hys bac wid fcwrge ifwungen^ 
Hys fide depe iftungen, 
Ffor finne and louve of man, 
Weil anti finne lete 
An nek wit teres wete 
Thif i of love can '. 

In the library of Jefus college at Oxford, I have feen a 
Norman-Saxon poem of another caft, yet v^'ithout much 
invention or poetry ". It is a contcfl betw^een an owl and 
a nightingale, about fuperiority in voice and fmging j the 
decifion of which is left to the judgment of one John de 
Guldevord". It is not later than Richard the firft. The 
rhymes are multiplied, and remarkably interchanged. 

Ich was in one fumere dale 
In one fnwe digele hale, 
I herde ich hold grete tale, 
And hule * and one nightingale. 

' MSS. Bibl. Bodl. B. 3. iS.Th. f. loi. 
b. (Langb. vi. 20Q.) 

"" It is alfo in Bibl. Cotton. MSS. 
Calig. ix. A. 5. fol. 230. 

" So it is faid in Catal. MSS. Angl. p. 69. 
But by miftake. Our John de Guldevorde 
is indeed the author of the poem which 
immediately precedes in the manufcript, as 
appears by the following entry at the end 
of it, in the hand- writing of the veary learned 
Edward Lhuyd. " On part of a broken 
" leaf of this MS. I find thefe verfes writ- 
** ten, whearby the author may be gueft 
" at. 
*• Mayfter Johan eu greteth of Guldworde 

" And fendeth eu to feggen that fynge he 
nul he wo, 

Vol. I. 

** On thifle wife he will endy his fonge, 
** God louerde of hcvene, bee us alle 

The piece is entitled and begins thus : 
Ici commence la Paffyun Ihu Crijl en engleys, 
I h«reth eu one lutele tale that ich eu willc 

As we vyndeth hit iwrite in the godfpelle, 
Nis hit nouht of Karlemcyne nc of the 

As of Crifles thruwynge, &c. 
It feems to be of equal antiquity with 
that mentioned in the text. The whole 
manufcript, confiding of many detached 
pieces both in verfe and profe, was perhaps 
written in the reign of Henry the fixth. 
« Owl. 




That plait was flif I flare and flrong. 
Sum wile fofte I lud among. 
Another agen other fval 
I let that wole mod ut al. 
I either feide of otheres cufle, 
That alere worfle that hi wufte 
I hure and I hure of others fonge 
Hi hold plaidung futhe ftronge ^ 

The earUeft love-fong which I can difcover in our lan- 
guage, is among the Harleian manufcripts in the Britifli 
Mufeum. I would place it before or about the year 1200. 
It is full of alliteration, and has a burthen or chorus. 

Blow northerne wynd, fent 
Thou me my fuetynge ; blow 
Northerne wynd, blou, blou, blou. 
Ich ot a burde in boure bryht 
That fully femly is on fyht, 
Menfkful maiden of myht, 
Feire ant fre to fonde. 
In al this wurhliche won, 
A burde of blod and of bon, 
Never ^ zete y nufte ' non 
Lviflbmore in Londe. Blow, &c. 
With lokkes ' lefliche and longe, 
With front ant face feir to fonde ; 
With murthes monie mote heo monge 
That brid fo breme in boure ; 
With loffum eie grete and gode, 
Weth browen blifsfoU undirhode, 
He that reft him on the rode 
That leflych lyf honoure. BIoUj ' &c. 

f MSS. Coll. ]c£. Oxon. 86. membr, i Yet. ' Knew not, -^ lively. ^ Sic 



Hire bire limmes liht, 

Afe a lantern a nyht, 

Hyr bleo blynkyth fo bryht ". 

So feore heo is ant fyn, 

A fifetly fuyre heo hath to holde, 

With armes, fhuldre as mon wolde. 

Ant fyngres fey re forte fold : 

God wolde hue were myn. 

Middel heo hath menfkfuli fmall, 

Hire loveliche chere as criftal 5 

Theyes, legges, fit, and al, 

Ywraught of the beft; 

A lufTum ladi laflelefs. 

That fweting is and ever wes 3 

A betere burde never was 

Yheryed with the hefte, 

Heo ys dere worthe in day, 

Gracioufe, flout, and gaye, 

Gentil, joly, fo the jay, 

Workliche when fhe waketh. 

Maiden murgefl * of mouth 

Bi efl, bi wefl, hi north, bi fouth. 

That nis ficle ne trouth. 

That fuch murthes maketh. 

Heo is corall of godnefle, 

Heo is rubie of riche fulnefTe, 

Heo is criflal of clarnefTe, 

Ant baner of bealtie, 

Heo is lilie of largefTe, 

Heo is parnenke pronefTe, 

Heo is falfecle of fuetnefie, # 

Ant ladie of lealtie, 

° Blee^ Complexion. "> Merrieft. 

E 2 Ta 


To lou that leflich ys in londe 
Ytolde as hi as ych underflonde, &c ^ 

From the fame colle6lion I have extrafted a part of another 
amatorial ditty, of equal antiquity ; which exhibits a ftanza 
of no inelegant or unpleafing flruclure, and approaching to 
the odave rhyme. It is, like the laft, formed on alliteration. 

In a fryhte as y con fare framede 

Y founde a wet feyr fenge to fere> 

Heo glyflenide afe gold when hit glemed, 
Nes ner gom fo gladly on gere, 

Y wolde wyte in world who hire kenede 
This burde bryht, zef hire wil were, 

Heo me bed go my gates, left hire gremede, 
Ne kept heo non henynge here ^ 

In the following lines a lover compliments his miftrefs 
named Alyfoun. 

Bytween Merfhe and Averile when fpray beginneth to fpringe. 

The Intel fowl hath hyre wyl on hyre lud to fynge, 

Ich libbem lonclonginge for fcmlokeft of all thynge. 

He may me blyfTe bringe ich am in hire banndonn. 

An hendy happe ichabbe yhent ichot from hevene it is me fent. 

From all wymmen mi love is lent and lyht on Alifoun, 

On hers here is fayre ynoh, hire browe bronne, hire eye blake. 

With lolTum chere he on me lok with middel fmal and 

Bote he me wolle to hire take, &c *. 

The following fong, containing a defcriptlon of the fprlng, 
•difplays glimmerings of imagination, and exhibits fome faint 

* MSS. Harl, 2253. fol. jnembran. 1 have cited from this manufcript, appear to 

!f. 72. b be of the hand- writing of the reign of Ed- 

y MSS. ibid. f. 66. The pieces which ward the firfto ■"■ MSS. ibid. f. 63. b. 



ideas of poetical expreflion. It is, like the three preceding, 
of the Norman Saxon fchool, and extra6led from the fame 
inexhauilible repofitory. I have tranfcribed the whole. 

In May hit murgeth when hit dawes * 
In dounes with this dueres plawes "j^ 
Ant lef is lyht on lynde ; 
Blofraes brideth on the bowes, 
Al this wylde whytes vowes, . 
So wel ych under-fynde. 
The threfleleue ' hym threteth foj 
Away is huere wynter do, 
When woderove yngeth ferly fere. 
And blyleth on huere wynter wele,. 
That al the wode ryngeth ; 
The rofe rayleth hir rode. 
The leves on the lyhte wode 
Waxen all with will ; 
The mone mandeth hire blea 
The lilie is lofTum to fcho ; 
The fengle and the fiUe 
Wowes this wilde drakes, 
O^iles huere makes. 

As ilreme that ftill 

CDody moneth fo doth mo. 
Ichott ycham on of tho 
• For love that likes ille. 
The mone mandeth hire liht, 
When briddes fyngeth breme, 
Deawes donneth the donnes 
Deores with huere derne rounes. 
Domes forte deme, 
Wormes woweth under cloude, 
Wymmen waxith wondir proude, 

* " It is merry at dawn,"" «» Plays. « Throftle. Tbruih, 


30 T H E H I S T O R Y O F 

So wel hyt :Wq1 him: feme 
Yef me fhall wonte wille of on 
This weale is wole forgon 
Ant whyt in wode be fleme **. 

The following hexaftic on a limilar fubje6l, is the produ6l 
of the fame rude period, although the context is rather more 
intelligible : but it otherwife deferves a recital, as it prefents 
an early fketch of a favourite and fafliionable ftanza. 

Lenten ys come with love to tonne, 
With blofmen and with briddes ronne. 

That al this blilTe bryngeth: 
Dayes ezes in this dales 
Notes fuete of nightingales, 

Vch foul fonge fmgeth % 

This fpecimen will not be improperly fucceeded by the 
following elegant lines, which a cotemporary poet appears to 
have made in a morning walk from Peterborough on the 
bleffed Virgin ; but whofe genius feems better adapted to 
defcriptive than religious fubje^s. 

Now Ikruketh rofe and lylie flour. 
That whilen ber that fuete favour 

In fomer, that fuete tyde ; 
Ne is no queue fo ftark ne flour, 
Ne no luedy fo bryht in hour 
That ded ne fhal by glydej 
Whofo wol flefliye luft for-gon and hevene-biiffe abyde 
On Jhefu be is thoht anon, that tharled was ys fide ^ 

To which we may add a fong, probably written by the 
fame author, on the five joys of the bleffed Virgin. 

^ MSS. ibid, ut fupr, f. 71. b. ' MSS. ibid. f. 71. b. f IbiJ. f. 80. 



Afe y me rod this ender day, 
By grene wode, to feche play ; 
Mid herte y thohte al on a May. 
Sueteile of al thinge j 
Lithe, and ich on tell may al of that faete thinge 2. 

In the fame paftoral vein, a lover, perh-aps of the reign of 
king John, thus addrefTes his miftrefs, vv^hom he fuppofes to 
be the moft beautiful girl, " Bitucne Lyncolne and Lynde- 
*' feye, Northampton and Lounde \" 

When the nytenhale fmges the wodes waxen grene, 
Lef, gras, and blofme, fpringes in Avril y wene. 
Ant love is to myn harte gon with one fpere fo kene 
Nyht and day my blod hit drynkes myn hart deth me tene'\ 

Nor are thefe verfes unpleafing in fomewhat the fame 

My deth y love, my lyf ich hate for a levedy ll^ene,, 

Heo is brith fo daies lihi, that is on me wel fene. 

Al y falewe fo doth the lef in fomir when hit is grene, 

Zef mi thoht helpeth me noht to whom fchal I me mene ? 

Ich have loved at this yere that y may love na more, 

Ich have fiked moni fyh, lemon, for thin ore, 

. . . my love never the ner and that me reweth fore;^ 

Suete lemon, thenck on me ich have loved the fore, 

Suete lemon, I preye the, of love one fpeche. 

While y lyve in worlde fo wyde other nill I feche ^. 

Another, in the following little poem, enigmatically com- 
pares his miftrefs, whofe name feems to be Joan, to various 
gems and flowers. The writer is happy in his alliteration, 
and his verfes are tolerably harmonious. 

« MSS. ibid, £. 8i. b= •»> London. ' ibid. f. 80. b. ^ jt,y. f, go. t. 



Ic hot a burde in a hour, afe beryl fo bryght, 

Afe faphyr in felver femely on fyht, 

Afe jalpe ' the gentil that iemeth "" with lyht, 

Afe gernet " in golde and rubye wel ryht, 

Afe onycle ° he is on y holden on hyht -, 

Afe diamand the dere in day when he is dyht : 

He is coral yend with Cayfer and knyght, 

Afe emeraude a morewen this may haveth myht. 

The myht of the margaryte haveth this mai mere, 

Ffor charbocele iche hire chafe bi chyn and bi chere. 

Hire rede ys as rofe that red ys on ryfe % 

With lilye white leves lofFum he ys, 

The primros he pafleth, the penenke of prys. 

With alifaundre thareto ache and anys : 

'^ Coynte as columbine fuch hire ' cande ys, 

Glad under gore in gro and in grys 

Heo is blofme upon bleo brihteft under bis 

With celydone ant fange as thou thi felf fys, 

From Weye he is wififl into Wyrhale, 

Hire nome is in a note of the nyhtegalej 

In a note is hire nome nempneth hit non 

Who fo ryht redeth ronne to Johon % 

The curious Harleian volume, to which we are fo largely 
indebted, has preferved a moral tale, a Comparifon between 
age and youth, where the ftanza is remarkably conflru6led. 
The various forts of verfification which we have already feen, 
evidently prove, that much poetry had been written, and that 
the art had been greatly cultivated before this period. 

Herkne to my ron, r\r u 1 1 
. . , /, Of £lde al hou yt sres. 

As ich ou tell con, ^ -" "^ 

' Jafper. '" Streams, fhincs. f Quaint. ^ White complexion. 

■» Garnet. » Onyx. ' Brarch. » MSS. ibid. f. 63. 



Of a mody mon, o .1 ul ^ j 
TT-i-^ A/r • • "^^'^ without les. 

Hihte Maximion, 

Clerc he was ful eod, -kt 1 1 r - 

p • J- n. J -^^^ herkne hou it wes • 

So mom mon undirftod, - 

For the fame reafon a fort of elegy on our Saviour's cru- 
cifixion fhould not be omitted. It begins thus : 

I fyke when y fmge for forewe that y fe 
When y with wypinge bihold upon the tre. 
Ant fe Jhefu the fuete 
Is hert blod for-lete. 

For the love of me ; 
Ys woundes waxen wete, 
Thei wepen, flill and mete, 
Marie reweth me ". 

Nor an alliterative ode on heaven, death, judgement, Scc> 

Middel-erd for mon was mad, 

Un mihti aren is mefte mede. 

This hedy hath on honde yhad. 

That hevene hem is haile to hede. 

Ich erde a blifle budel us bade, cri ^ j t j j 
_, , . , ^, . , , ' That he ben derne done. 
The dreri domeldai to drede. 

Of fniful fauhting fone he fad. 

That derne doth this derne dede. 

This wrakefall werkes under wede. 

In foule foteleth fone "'. 

Many of thefe meafures were adopted from the French 
chanfons ''. I will add one or two more fpecimens., 

' Ibid. f. 82. " Ibid. f. 80. ^^ Ibid. f. 62. b. * See MSS. Harl. ut fupr. f. 49. •](i. 

Vol. I. F On 


On our Saviour's Paffion and Death. 

Jefu ifor thi muchele might 

Thou zef us of thi grace, 
That we mowe day and nyht 

Thenken of thi face. 
In myn hert it doth me god. 
When y thenke on Jhefu blod 

That ran down bi ys fyde ; 
From is harte doune to ys fote. 
For ous he fpradde is harte blode. 

His wondes were fo wyde ^. 

On the fame fubjeft. 

Lutel wot hit any mon 

Hou love hym haveth y bounde,^ 
That for us o the rode ron, 

Ant boht us with is wonde , 
The love of him us haveth y maked found. 
And y cafl the grimly goft to ground : 
Ever and oo, nyht and day, he haveth us in his thohte. 
He nul nout leofe that he fo deore boht ^. 

The following are on love and gallantry. The poet, named 
Richard, profelTes himfelf to have been a great writer of love- 


Weping haveth myn wonges wet. 

For wilked worke ant wone of wyt, 
Unblithe y be tyl y ha bet, 

Bruches broken afe bok byt: 
Of levedis love that y ha let. 

That lemeth al with luefly lyt,, 
Ofte in fonge y have hem fet, 

That is unfemly ther hit fyt. 

y Ibid. f. 7g. Probably this fong has occur, burlefqued and parodied, by a wri- 

fceen fomewhat modernifed by tranfcribers. ter of the fame age. 

* Ibid, f. J 2 8. Thefe lines afterwards 



Hit fyt and femethe noht, 

Ther hit ys feid in fong 
That y have of them wroht, 

Y wis hit is all wrong *. 

It was cuftomary with the early fcribes, when ftanzas 
confifted of fhort lines, to throw them together like profe. 
As thus : 

" A wayle whiyt as whalles bon | a grein in golde that 
" godly fhon | a tortle that min hart is on | in tonnes trewe | 
y Hire gladfhip nes never gon [ while y may glewe ^" 

Sometimes they wrote three or four verfes together as 
one line. 

With longynge y am lad | on molde y waxe mad | a maide 

marreth me, 
Y grede y grone un glad | for felden y am fad | that femly 

for te fee. ' 
Levedi thou rewe me | to routhe thou havcft me rad | be 

bote of that y bad | my lyf is long on the \ 


Moft i ryddeil by rybbes dale j widle wymmen for te wale | 

ant wclde wreek ich wolde : 
Founde were the feirefl on | that ever was mad of blod ant 

bon I in boure beft with bolde \ 

This mode of writing is not uncommon in antient manu- 
fcripts of French poetry. And fonie critics may be inclined 
to fufpeft, that the verfes which we call Alexandrine, acci- 
dentally afTumed their form merely from the pra6tice of ab- 
furd tranfcribers, who frugally chofe to fill their pages to the 
extremity, and violated the metrical flru6lure for the fake 

» Ibid. f. 66. b Ut fupr. f. 6j. «= Ibid, 63. b. '^ Ibid. f. 66. 

F 2 of 


of faving their vellum. It is certain, that the common ftanza 
of four fhort lines may be reduced into two Alexandrines^ 
and on the contrary. I have before obferved, that the Saxon 
poem cited by Hickes, confifting of one hundred and ninety- 
one ftanzas, is written in flanzas in the Bodleian, and in 
Alexandrines in the Trinity manufcript at Cambridge. How 
it came originally from the poet I will not pretend to de- 

Our early poetry often appears in fatirical pieces on the 
eftablifhed and eminent profeffions. And the writers, as we 
have already feen, fucceeded not amifs when they cloathed 
their fatire in allegory. But nothing can be conceived more 
fcurrilous and illiberal than their fatires when they defcend 
to mere inve(5live. In the Britifh Mufeum, among other, 
examples which I could mention, we have a fatirical ballad on 
the lawyers % and another on the clergy, or rather fome par- 
ticular bifhop. The latter begins thus i 

Hyrd-men hatieth ant vch mones hyne, 
For ever uch a parosflie heo polketh in pyne 
Ant claftreth wyf heore celle : 
Nou wol vch fol clerc that is fayly 
Wend to the bysfhop ant bugge bayly, 
Nys no wyt in is nolle \ 

The elder French poetry abounds in allegorical fatire : and, 
I doubt not that the author of the fatire on the monaflic 
profeflion, cited above, copied fome French fatire on the 
fubje6l. Satire was one fpecies of the poetry of the Proven- 
cial troubadours. Anfelm Fayditt, a troubadour of the ele- 
venth century, who will again be mentioned, wrote a fort of 
fatirical drama, called the Heresy of the Fathers, Here- 
GiA DEL Preyres, a ridiculc on the council which con- 
demned the Albigenfes. _ The papal legates often fell under 

« MSS. ut fupr. f. 70. b. f Ibid. f. 71. 



the lafli of thefe poets ; whofe favour they were obliged to 
court, but in vain, by the promife of ample gratuities ^. 
Hugues de Bercy, a French monk, wrote in the twelfth cen- 
tury a very lively and fevere fatire ; in which no perfon, not 
even himfelf, was fpared, and which he called the Bible, 
as containing nothing but truth \ 

In the Harleian manufcripts I find an ancient French 
poem, yet refpe6ling England, which is a humorous pane- 
gyric on a new religious order called Le Ordre de bel Eyse.. 
This is the exordium. 

Qui vodra a moi entendre 
Oyr purra e aprendre 
L'eftoyre de un Ordre Novel 
Qe^mout eft delitous bel. 

The poet ingenioufly feigns, that his new monaftic order 
confifts of the moft eminent nobility and gentry of both- 
fexes, who inhabit the monafteries affigned to it promifcu- 
oufly; and that no perfon is excluded from this eftablifh- 
ment who can fupport the rank of a gentleman. They are 
bound by their ftatutes to live in perpetual idlenefs and lux- 
ury : and the fatyrift refers them for a pattern or rule of prac- 
tice in thefe important articles, to the monafteries of Sem- 
pringham in Lincolnftiire, Beverley in Yorkfhire, the Knights 
Hofpitalers, and many other religious orders then fiourifti- 
ing in England '. 

When we coniider the feudal manners, and the magnifi- 
cence of our Norman anceftors, their love of military glory^. 
the enthufiafm v/ith which they engaged in the crufades, 
and the wonders to which they muft have been familiarifed 
from thofe eaftern enterprifes, we naturally fuppofe, what 
will hereafter be more particularly proved, that their retinues 

g Fontenelle, Hill. Theatr. Fr. p. i8. ^ See Fauchett, Rec. p. 151. 

edit. 174Z. i MSS. ibid. f. 121. 



abounded with minflrels and harpers, and that their chief 
entertainment was to iiilen to the recital of romantic and 
martial adventures. But I have been much difappointed in 
my fearches after the metrical tales which mufl' have pre- 
vailed in their times. Moll of thofe old heroic fono:s are 
periflied, together with the ftateiy caftles in whofe halls they 
were fung. Yet they are not fo totally loft as we may be 
apt to imagine. Many of them ftill partly exift in ttie old 
Englifh metrical romances, which will be mentioned in their 
proper places 5 yet divefled of their original form, poliihed 
in their ftyle, adorned with new incidents, fucceffively mo- 
dernifed by repeated tranfcription and recitation, antl retain- 
ing little more than the outlines of the original coinpofition. 
This has not been the cafe of the legendary and other reli- 
gious poems written foon after the conqutil ^ /janufcripts 
of which abound in our libraries. P'rom the nature of their 
fubjecl they were lefs popular and common ; and being lefs 
frequently recited, became lefs liable to perpetual innovation 
or alteration. 

The mofc antient Englifn metrical romance which I can 
difcover, is entitled the Geste of King Horn. It was evi- 
dently written after the crufades had begun, is mentioned 
by Chaucer ", and probably ftiU remains in its original ftate. 
I will firft give the fubihmce of the ftory, and afterwards 
add fome fpecimens of the compofition. But I muft premife, 
that this (lory occurs in very old French metre in the manu- 
- fcripts of the Britiih Mufeum ', fo that probably it is a 
tranilation: a circumftance which will throw light on an 
argument purfued hereafter, proving that moft of our me- 
trical romances are tranllated from the French. 

Mury, king of the Saracens, lands in the kingdom of Sud- 
dene, v/here he kills the king named Aliof. The queen, 
Godylt, efcapes j but Mury feizes on her fon Home, a beau- 

^ Rim. Thop. 3402. Urr, ' MSS. Harl. 527. b. f. 59. Cod membr. 



tiful youth aged fifteen years, and puts him into a galley, 
with two of his play-fellows, Achulph and Fykenyld : the 
veflel being driven on the coaft of the kingdom of Weft- 
nefle, the young prince is found by Aylmar king of that 
country, brought to court, and delivered to Athelbrus his 
fleward, to be educated in hawking, harping, tilting, and 
other courtly accomplifhments. Here the princefs Rymenild 
falls in love with him, declares her paffion, and is betrothed. 
Home, in confequence of this engagement,, leaves the 
princefs for feven years j to demonftrate, according to the: 
ritual of chivalry, that by feeking and accompiiiliing dan- 
gerous enterprifes he deferved her afFeftion. He proves a 
moft valorous and invincible knight: and at the end of feven ^ 
years, having killed king Mury, recovered his father's king- 
dom, and atchieved many fignal exploits, recovers the prin- 
cefs Rymenild from the hands of his treacherous knight 
and companion Fykenyld ; carries her in triumph to his. 
own country, and there reigns with her in great fplendor 
and profperity. The poem itfelf begins and proceeds thus i. 

Alle heo ben blythe, that to my fonge ylythe *" : 

A fonge yet uUe ou fmge of Alloff the god kynge, , 

Kynge he was by wefte the whiles hit y iefte ; 

And Godylt his gode queue, no feyrore myhte bene. 

Ant huere fone hihte Home, feyrore childe ne myhte be borne : 

For reyne ne myhte by ryne ne fonne myhte fliine 

Feyror childe than he was, bryht fo ever eny glas. 

So whyte fo eny lilye floure, fo rofe red v/as his colour; 

He was feyre ant eke bold, and of fyfteene wynter old. 

This non his yiiche in none kingcs ryche. 

Tueye feren " he hadde, that he with him ladde, 

Al rychemenne fonne, and al fuyth feyre gromeSj 

Weth hem forte pley anufte ' he loved tueye, 

«" Lillen. . ° Companions. • Alike, . 




That on was hoten Achulph child, and that other Ffykenild, 

Aculph was the beft, and Ffykenyld the werfte, 

Yt was upon a fomerfday alfo, as ich one telle may, 

Allof the gode kynge rode upon his pleying, 

Bi the fe fide, there he was woned to ride ; 

With him ne ryde hot tuo, at to felde hue were tho : 

He fond bi the flronde, aryved on is lond, 

Shipes fyflene of Sarazins kene : 

He alked what hue fohten other on his lond brohten. 

But I haften to that part of theilory where prince Hornc 
appears at the court of the king of WeflnefTe. 

The kyng com into hall, among his knyghtes alle, 
Forth he cleped Athelbrus, his llewarde, him feyde thus 
Steward tal thou here my fundling for to lere, 
Of fome myftere of woode and of ryvere ^ 
And toggen othe harpe with is nayles fliarpe \ 
And teche at the liiles that thou ever wiftes, 
Byfore me to kerven, and of my courfe to ferven ', 






P So Robert de Brunne of king Marlaa. 
Hearne's Rob. GIoc. p. 622. 

— Marian faire in chere 
He couthe of wod and ryvere 
In alle maner of veurie, &c. 

1 In another part of the poem he is in- 
troduced playing on his harp. 

Home fett hi abenche, his harpe he gan 

He made Pvymenild a lay ant he feide 

weilaway, Sec. 

In the chamber of a bitliop of Winchcfler 
at Merdon taille, now niincd, we find 
iTiention made of benches only. Comp. MS. 
j. Gcrvcys, Epif.op. Winton 1266. " li- 
" dem red. comp. dc ii. menfis in aula ad 
•' magnum defcum. Et de iii. menfis, ex 
*' una parte, et ii. menfis ex akera parte 
** cum trcfTfllis in aula. Et de i. menfa 

** cum trefTelHs in camera dom. epifcopi. 
" Et v./orwM in eadem camera." Dfjcusy 
in old Englifh c'ees, is properly^ a canopy 
over the high table. See a curious account 
of the goods in the palace of the bifhop 
of Nivernois in France, in the year 1287, 
in Mantf. Cat. MSS. ii. p. 984. col. 2. ' 

' According to the rules of chivalry, 
every knight before his creation pafled 
through two offices. He was firft a page : 
and at fourteen years of age he was formal- 
ly admitted an efquire. The efquires were 
divided into feveral departments ; that of 
the body, of the chamber, of the ftable, 
and the carving efquire. The latter flood 
in the hall at dinner, where he carved the 
different difhcs with proper (kill and ad- 
drefs, anddiredted the diftribution of them 
among the guells. The inferior offices had 
alfo their refpertive efquires, Mem. anc. 
Cheval. i. i6.~rcc[. 

" Ant 


" Ant his feren devyfe without other furmife -, 

" Horne-childe, thou underflond, teche hym of harpe and 

Athelbrus gon leren Home and hyfe feren ; 
Home mid herte laghte al that mon hym taghte, 
Within court and withoute, and overall aboute, 
Lovede men Horne-child, and moft him loved Ymenild 
The kinges owne dothter, for he was in hire thohte, 
Hire loved him in hire mod, for he was faire and eke gode. 
And that tyne ne dorfte at worde and myd hem fpek ner a 

Ne in the halle, amonge the knyhtes alle, 
Hyre forewe and hire payne nolde never fayne, 
Bi daye ne bi nyhte for here fpeke ne myhte, 
With Home that was fo feir and fre, tho hue ne myhte with 

him be ; 
In herte hue had care and wo, and thus hire bihote hire tho : 
Hue fende hyre fonde Athelbrus to honde. 
That he come here to, and alfo childe Home do, 
In to hire boure, for hue bigon to loure. 
And the fond ' fayde, that feek was the mayde. 
And bed hym quyke for hue nis non blyke. 
The ftewarde was in huerte wo, for he wifl whit he fhulde do. 
That Rymenyld byfohte gret wonder him thohte 5 
About Home he yinge to boure forte bringe. 
He thohte en his mode hit nes for none gode ; 
He toke with him another, Athulph Home's brother *, 
Athulph, quoth he, ryht anon thou Ihalt with me to boure 

To fpeke with Rymenyld ftille, and to wyte hire wille. 
Thou art Home's yliche, thou fhalt hire by fuyke. 
Sore me adrede that hire wil Home mys rede." 
Athelbrus and Athulf tho to hire boure both ygo, 

* MefTenger. *■ Companion, friend* 

Vol. I. G Upon 





Upon Athulf childe Rymenilde con wox wilde, 

Hue wende Home it were, that hue hadde there y 

Hue fetten adown ftille, and feyden hire wille, 

In her armes tweye Athulf fhe con leye, 

" Home, quoth heo, wellong I have lovede thee ftrong, 

*' Thou flialt thy truth plyht in myne honde with ryht. 

*' Me to rpoufe welde and iche the loverde to helde." 

So ftille fo hit were, Achulf feide in her ere, 

" Ne tel thou no more fpeche may y the byfeche 

" Thi tale — thou linne, for Home his nout his ynne, &c." 

At length the princefs finds flie has been deceived, the 
fteward is feverely reprimanded, and prince Home is brought 
to her chamber 5 when, fays the poet. 

Of is fayre fyhte al that boure gan lyhte ". 

It is the force of the ftory in thefe pieces that chiefly en- 
gages our attention. The minftrels had no idea of condu6l- 
ing and defcribing a delicate fituation. The general manners 
were grofs, and the arts of writing unknov/n. Yet this 
limplicity fometimes pleafes more than the moil artificial 
touches. In the mean time, the pi6lures of antient manners 
prefented by thefe early writers, ftrongly intereft the ima- 
gination : efpecially as having the fame uncommon merit 
with the piftures of manners in Homer, that of being 
founded in truth and reality, and a6lually painted from the 
life. To talk of the groffnefs and abfurdity of fuch manners 
IS little to the purpofe^ the poet is only concerned in the 
juftnefs and faithfulnefs of the reprefentation. 

" MSS. ibid. f. 83. Where the title is Horn-chiUe and Maiden Rini'vel. The be- 

written, " jje jefte of kynge Home." ginning. 
There is a copy, much altered and nio- Mi leve frende dere, 

dernifed, in the Advocates library at Edin- Herken and ye fhall here, 

burgh, W. 4. i. Numb, xxxiv. The title 





ITHERTO we have been engaged in examining the 
ftate of our poetry from the conqueft to the year 1200, 
or rather afterwards. It will appear to have made no very- 
rapid improvement from that period. Yet as we proceed, 
we fhall find the language lofmg much of its antient barba- 
rifm and obfcurity, and approaching more nearly to the 
diale6l of modern times. 

In the latter end of the reign of Henry the third, a poem 
occurs, the date of which may be determined with fome 
degree of certainty. It is a fatirical fong, or ballad, written 
by one of the adherents of Simon de Montfort earl of Lei- 
cefter, a powerful baron, foon after the battle of Lewes, 
which was fought in the year 1264, and proved very fatal to 
the interefls of the king. In this decifive a6lion, Richard 
king of the Romans, his brother Henry the third, and prince 
Edward, with many others of the royal party, were taken 


Sitteth alle ftille, ant herkeneth to me : 
The kynge of Alemaigne % hi mi leaute ^ 
Thritti thoufent pound afkede he 
For te make the pees ' in the countre ^ 

And fo fo he dude more. 
Richard, thah " thou be ever tricchard ^ 

Tri6lhen fhall thou never more. 

» The king of the Romans. ^ Loyalty. ' Peace. 

^ The barons made this offer of thirty thoufand pounds to Richard. 
' Though. * Treacherous. 

G 2 II. Richard 




Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he was kying, 
He fpende al is trefour opon fwyvyng, 
Haveth he nout of WaUngford cferiyng ^ 
Let him habbe, afe he brew, bale to dryng ^^ 

Maugre Wyndefore \ 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 


The kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel ^, 
He faifede the muhie for a caftel ', 
With hare'" fharpe fwerdes he grounde the ftel. 
He wende that he fayles were mangonel ". 
To help Wyndefore. 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 


The kyng of Alemaigne gederede ° ys ofl, 
Makede hym a caftel of a mulne poft ^y 

2 O'verlyny. i. e« fuperiour. But perhaps 
the word is oiler lyng, for efierlyns, a French 
piece of money. Wallingford was one of 
the honours conferred on Richard, at his 
marriage with Sanchia daughter of the 
count of Provence. 

^ '* Let him have, as he brews, poifon 
*♦ to drink." 

* Windfor-caftle was one of the king's 
chief fortreffes. 

^ " Thought to do full well," 

' Some old chronicles relate, that at the 
battle of Lewes Richard was taken in a 
windmill. Hearne MS3. CoH. vol. io6. 
p. 82. Robert of Glouceiler mentions the 
fame circumftance, edit. Hearne, p. 547. 

The king of Alemaigne was in a wind- 

mulle inome. 

Richard and prince Edward took flielter in 
the Grey-friars atLewes, but were afterwards 
imprifoned in the caftle of Wallingford. 
See Hearne's Langtoft, GlofT. p. 616. 
And Rob. Glouc p. 548. Robert de 
Brunne, a poet of whom I ihall fpeak at 
large in his proper place, tranflates the 
onfet of this battle with fome fpirit, edit. 
Hearne, p. 217. 

Symon com to the felde, and put up his 

The king fchewed forth his fchelde, his 

•dragon ful auftere ; 
The kyng faide on hie, Simon ico voui 

dijie. Sec. 

^ Their. 
" Gathexed. 

" Battering-rams. 
P Mill-poft. 



Wende with is prude % ant is muckele bofV, 
Brohte from Almayne mony fori gofl ' 
To flore Wyndefore. 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 


By god that is aboven ous he dude muche fynne, 
That let paffen over fee the erl of Warynne * : 
He hath robbed Engelond, the mores, ant the fenne. 
The gold, ant the felver, and y-boien henne. 
For love of Wyndefore. 
Richard, thah thou, &,c., 


Syre Simonde de Mountfort hath fuore bi ys chyn, 
Hevede ' he nou here the erle of Waryn, 
Shuld he never more come to is yn ", 
Ne vv^ith fhelde, ne with fpere, ne with other gyn ''j 
To help of Wyndefore : 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 


Sire Simond de Montfort hath fwore bi ys fotj 
Hevede he nou here Sire Hue of de Bigot, 

"3 Pride. difmifs moft of them foon after he landed 

' He brought with him many foreigners, in England, 
when he returned to England, from taking ^ The earl of Warren and Surry, and 
poffefiion of his dignity of king of the Hugh le Bigot the king's jufticiary, men- 
Romans. This gave great offence to the tioned in the feventh flanza, had fled into 
barons. It is here infinuated, that he in- France. 

tended to garrifonWindfor-caftle with thefe ' Had, " Habitation, home., 

foreigners , The barons obliged him to * Engine, Weapon, 


Al he iliulde grante hen twelfemonth fcot * 
Shulde he never more with his fot pot, 
To help Wyndefore. 
Richard thah thou, Sec. 

Thefe popular rhymes had probably no fmall influence 
in encouraging Leicefler's partifans, and diffuhng his fac- 
tion. There is fome humour in imagining that Richard 
fuppofed the windmill to which he retreated, to be a forti- 
fication; and that he believed the fails of it to be military 
engines. In the manufcript from which this fpecimen is 
tranfcribed, immediately follows a fong in French, feemingly 
written by the fame poet, on the battle of Evefham, fought 
the following year ; in which Leicefler was killed, and his 
rebellious barons defeated ^ Our poet looks upon his hero 
as a martyr -, and particularly laments the lofs of Henry 
his fon, and Hugh le Defpenfer judiciary of England. He 
concludes with an Englifh flanza, much in the ftyle and 
fpirit of thofe laft quoted. 

A learned and ingenious writer, in a work which places 
the ftudy of the law in a new light, and proves it to be an 
entertaining hiftory of manners, has obferved, that this 
ballad on Richard of Alemaigne probably occafioned a ilatute 
againft libels in the year 1275, under the title, " Againft 
*' flanderous reports, or tales to caufe difcord betwixt king 
" and people ^." That this fpirit was growing to an extra- 
vagance which deferved to be checked, we fliall have occafion 
to bring further proofs. 

I muft not pafs over the reign of Henry the third, who 
died in the year 1272, without obferving, that this monarch 

^ Year's tax. I had tranfcribed this Chaunter meftoit [ mon ever le voit | en un 

ballad from the Britilh Mufeum, and writ- dure langage, 

te« thefe few curfory explanations, before Tut en pluraunt j full: fet le chaunt J de noi- 

I knew that it was printed in the fecond tre duz Baronage, &c. 

edition of doftor Percy's ballads, ii. I , See ^ Observations upon the Sta- 

MSS. Harl. ut fupr. f.58. b. tutes, chiefly the more ancient, 

y f. 59. Itbegins, ^c. edit. 1766. p. 71. 




entertained in his court a poet with a certain falary, whofe 
name was Henry de Avranches *. And although this poet 
was a Frenchman, and moft probably wrote in French, yet 
this firft inftance of an officer who was afterwards, yet 
with fufficient impropriety, denominated ?l poet laureate in the 
Englifh court, defcrvedly claims particular notice in the 
courfe of thefe annals. He is called Majler Henry the Verfi- 
Jier ^ ; which appellation perhaps implies a different cha- 
ra6ler from the royal Minjlrel or Joculator. The king's 
treafurers are ordered to pay this Mafter Henry one hundred 
fhillings, which I fuppole to have been a year's ftipend, in 
the year 1251 '. And again the fame precept occurs under 
the year 1249 ''• ^^^ Mafter Henry, it feems, had in fome 
of his verfes reflecSled on the rufticity of the Cornifli men. 
This infult was refented in a Latin fatire now remaining, 
written by Michael Blaunpayne, a native of Cornwall, and 
recited by the author in the prefence of Hugh abbot of 
Weftminfter, Hugh de Mortimer official of the archbifliop 
of Canterbury, the bifliop elect of Winchefter, and the 
bifhop of Rochefter^ While we are fpeaking of the Verjifier 

a See Carew's Surv. Cornw. p. 58 edit. 


'' Henry of Huntingdon fays, that Walo 
Verjificator wrote a panegyric on Henry the 
firft. And that the fame Walo Verf,Jicator 
wrote a poem on the park which that king 
made at Woodftock. Apud Leland's Cel- 
leftan. vol. ii. 303. i. 197. edit. 1770. 
Perhaps he was in the department of Henry 
mentioned in the text. One Gualo, a 
Latin poet, who flourifhed about this time, 
is mentioned by Bale, iii. 5. and Pitts, p. 
233. He is commended in the PoLiCR A- 
TicoN. A copy of his Latin hexametri- 
cal fatire on the monks is printed by Ma- 
thias Flacius, among mifcellaneous Latin 
poems De corrupt Ecclejia; Jlatu, p. 489, 
Bafil. 1557.0a. • 

" " Magiftro Henrico Verfificatori." See 
Madox. HiiL Excheq. p. .'68. 

'' Ibid. p. 67 \. In MSS. Digb. Bibl. 
Bodl. I find, in John of rioveden's Salu- 
tationes quittqu^^i/ita Maria. " Mag. 


•' B. Virgine, &c" 

«= MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Arch. Bodl. 29, in 
pergam. 4to. viz. " Verfus magiftri Michae- 
" lis Cornubienfis contra Mag. Henricum 
•* Abricenfem coram dom. Hugone abbate 
" Weftmon. et aliis." fol. 81. b. Pnnc. 
'* Archipoeta vide quod non fit cu- 
" ra tibide." See alfo fol. 83. b. Aeain. 
fol. 85. ^ 

Pendo poeta prius te diximus Archipoe- 
ta m, 
Quam pro poftico nunc dicimuseffe poetam, 
Imo poeticuium, &c. 

Jr c hip oet a mtzns here the king's chief poet.. 

In another place our Cornifli fatiriH thus 
attacks mafter Henry's perfcn. 

Eft tibi gamba capri, crus pafleris, et latus 

Os leporis, catuli nafus, dens etgena muli ; 
Frons vetulje, tauri caput, et color undique 





of Henry the third, it will not be foreign to add, that in the 
thirty-fixth year of the fame king, forty fhiliings and one 
pipe of wine were given to Richard the king's harper, and 
one pipe of wine to Beatrice his wife '. But why this gra- 
tuity of a pipe of wine fliould alio be made to his wife, as 
v/ell as to the hufband, who from his profeffion was a genial 
charadler, appears problematical according to our prefent 

The firft poet whofe name occurs in the reign of Edward 
the firft, and indeed in thefe annals, is Robert of Glocefter, 
a monk of the abbey of Glocefter. He has left a poem of 
confiderable length, which is a hiftory of England in verfe, 
from Brutus to the reign of Edward the firft. It was evi- 
dently written after the year 1278, as the poet mentions 
king Arthur's fumptuous tomb, ere6led in that year before 
the high altar of Glaftonbury church'' 5 and he declares him- 
felf a living witnefs of the remarkably difmal weather which 
diftinguiflied the day on which the battle of Evefliam above- 
mentioned was fought, in the year 1265^. From thefe and 
other circumftances this piece appears to have been compofed 
about the year 1280. It is exhibited in the manufcripts, 
is cited by many antiquaries, and printed by Hearne, in the 
Alexandrine meafure : but with equal probability might have 
been written in four-lined ftanzas. This rhyming chronicle 
is totally deftitute of art or imagination. The author has 
cloathed the fables of Geoffrey of Monmouth in rhyme, 
which have often a more poetical air in Geoftrey's profe. The 

In a blank page Df the Bodleian manu- 
fcript, from which thefe extrafts are made, 
is written, " Ifte liber conftat ffratri Jo- 
** hanni de Wallis monacho Ramefeye." 
The name is elegantly enriched with a 
device. This manufcript contains, among 
other tilings, Planftus de Ex^^idio Trojce, by 
Hugo Prior Je Montacuto, in rhyming hex- 
ameters and pentameters, viz. fol. 89. Cam- 
den cites other Latin verfes of Michael 
Blaunpain, whom he calls " Merr)' Michael 

** the Cornifli poet." Rem. p. 10. See alfo 
p. 489. edit. 1674. Rewrote many other 
Latin pieces, both in profe and verfe. 

^ Rot. Pip. an. 36. Henr. iii. "Etinuno 
" dolio vini empto et dato magiftro Ri- 
" cardo Cithariilse regis, xl. fol. per Br. 
*' Reg. Et in uno dolio empto et dato 
*' Beatrici uxoriejufdem Ricardi." 

^ Pag. 224. edit. Hearne. Oxon. 1724. 

8 Pag. 560. 




language is not much more eafy or intelligible than that of 
many of the Norman-Saxon poems quoted in the preceding 
fe(5tion : it is full of Saxonifms, which indeed abound, more 
or lefs, in every writer before Gower and Chaucer. But this 
obfcurity is perhaps owing to the weftern diale6l, in which 
our monk of Glocefter was educated. Provincial barbarifms 
are naturally the growth of extreme counties, and of fuch 
as are fituated at a diftance from the metropolis : and it 
is probable, that the Saxon heptarchy, which confided of a 
clufter of feven independent flates, contributed to produce 
as many different provincial dialefts. In the mean time it 
is to be confidered, that writers of all ages and languages 
have their affe6lations and fnigularities, which occafion in 
each a peculiar phrafeology. 

Robert of Gloucefter thus defcribes the fports and folem- 
nities which followed king Arthur's coronation. 


The kyng was to ys paleys, tho the fervyfe was y do ^, 

Ylad wyth his menye, and the queue to hire alfo. 

Vor hii hulde the olde ufages, that men wyth men were 

By them fulve, and wymmen by hem fulve alfo there ''. 

Tho hii were echone yfett, as yt to her flat bycom, 

Kay, king of Aungeo, a thoufand knytes nome 

Of noble men, yclothed in ermyne echone 

Of on fywete, and fervede at thys noble fefl anon. 

Bedwer the botyler,, kyng of Normandye, 

Nom alfo in ys half a vayr companye 

Of one fywyte ' worto fervy of the botelerye. 

Byvore the queue yt was alfo of al fuche cortefye, 

Vorto telle al the noblye thet ther was ydo, 

They my tonge were of flel, me fTolde noght dure therto., 

5 " When the fcrvice In the church was " a thoufand noble knights cloathed in er- 

" finifhed." « mine of one fuit, or fe^^." 

*• " They kept the antient cuftom at fef- '* ' Brought alfo, on his part, a fair com- 

*' tivals, of placing the men and women *' pany, cloathed unifo/mly." 
" feparate. Kay, king of Anjou, brought 

Vol. I. H Wymmen 



Wymmen ne kepte of no kyngt as in druery ", 

Bote he were in armys wel yproved, and atte lefle thrye '. 

That made, lo, the wymmen the chaflore lyf lede, 

And the kyngtes the ilalwordore "'j and the betere in her dede. 

Sone after thys noble mete ", as ryght was of fuch ryde. 

The kynghts atyled hem aboute in eche fyde, 

In feldys and in medys to prove her bachelerye ". 

Somme wyth lance, fome wyth fuerd, wythoute vylenye, 

Wyth pleyinge at tables, other atte chekere ^. 

Wyth caftynge, other wyth fTettinge ''j other in fome ogyrt 

And wuch fo of eny game adde the mayftrye. 
The kyjig hem of ys gyfteth dyde large cortyfye. 
Upe the alurs of the caftles the laydes thanne ftode. 
And byhulde thys noble game, and wyche kyngts were godV 
All the thre hexte dawes ' ylafte thys nobleye 
In halles and in veldes, of mete and eke of pleye. 
Thys men com the verthe ' day byvore the kynge there,, 
And he gef hem large gyftys, evere as hii werthe were. 
Bisfhopryches and cherches clerkes he gef fomme. 
And caftles and townes kyngtes that were ycome '.. 

Many of thefe lines are literally tranflated from Geoffrey 
of Monmouth. In king Arthur's battle with the giant, at 

'' Modefty, decorum. ^ Thrice, 

"" More brave. 

" " Soon after this noble feaft, which 
*' was proper at fuch an occ alien, the 
" knights accoutred themfelves." 

° Chivalry, courage, cr youih. 

P Chefs. It is remarkable, that among the 
nine exercifes, or accompliihments, men- 
tioned by Kolfon, an antient northern chief, 
one is Playing at Chefs. Bartholin, ii. c. S^ 
p 420. This game was familiarifed to the 
Europeans after the crufades. The romances 
which followed thofe expeditions are full of 
it. Kolfon, above-mentioned, had made a 
pi'grimage into the Holy Land. But from 
the principles advanced in theiirll Intro- 

ductory Dissertation, this game 
might have been known in the North be- 
fore. In the mean time, it is probable that 
the Saracens introduced it into Spain before 
the crufades. Jt is mentioned by G. of 
Monmouth, and in the Alexiad of Anna 
Commena. See Mem. Acad. Lit. v. 232. 

1 Different ways of playing at chefs. 
*' The ladies ftood on the walks made 
" within the battlements of the caftlc." 

"■ " All the three high, or chief days, 
♦' In hills and fields, of feafting, and tur- 
*' neying, Sec." 

s Fourth. 

' Pag. 191, 192, 



Barbesfleet, there are no marks of Gothic painting. But 
there is an effort at poetry in the defcription of the giant's 

Tho griflych yal the ffrewe tho, that griflych was his here. 
He vel doung as a gret ok, that bynethe ycorve were. 
That it thogte that al hul myd the vallynge fTok ". 

That is, " The cruel giant yelled fo horribly, and fo vehe« 
" ment was his fall, that he fell down like an oak cut through 
" at the bottom, and all the hill fhook while he fell." But 
this flroke is copied from Geoffry of Monmouth ; who tells 
the fame miraculous ftory, and in all the pomp with which 
it was perhaps drefied up by his favourite fablers. " Exclama- 
" vit vero invifus ille ; et velut quercus ventorum viribus 
" eradicata, cum maximo fonitu corruit." It is difficult to 
determine which is mofl blameable, the poetical hiflorian, or 
the profaic poet. 

It was a tradition invented by the old fablers, that 
giants brought the ftones of Stonehenge from the moil 
fequeftered deferts of Africa, and placed them in Ireland -, 
that every ftone was waflied with juices of herbs, and con- 
tained a medical power j and that Merlin the magician, at 
the requeil: of king Arthur, tranfported them from Ireland, 
and ere61:ed them in circles on the plain of Amefbury, as a 
fepulchral monument for the Britons treacherouily flain by 
Hengift. This fable is thus delivered, without decoration, 
by Robert of Glocefler. 

" Sire kyng, quoth Merlin tho, fuche thynges y wis 

" Ne bethe for to fchewe nogt, but wen gret nede ys, 

" For gef iche feid in bifmare, other bute it ned were, 

*' Sone from me he wold wende the goft, that doth me lere "'. 

" Pag. 20?. me. " Nam fi ea in derifionem, five va- 

'^ Ifl fhould fay any thing out of wan- " nitatem proferrem, taceret Spiritus qui 

tonnefs or vanity, the fpirit, or demon, " me doctt, et cumopus fupervcniret, rece- 

whichteaches me, would immediately leave *' deret." Galfrid. Mon viii. lo. 

H 2 The 










The kyng, tho non other nas, bod hym fom quoyntife 
Bithinke about thilk cors that fo noble were and wyfe ". 
Sire kyng, quoth Merlm tho, gef thou wolt here cafte 
In the honour of men, a worke that ever fchal ylafte ^, 
To the hul of Kylar "= fend in to Yrlond, 
Aftur the noble ftones that ther habbet ^ ienge yflonde ; 
That was the treche of giandes ^ for a quoynte work ther ys. 
Of ftones al wyth art ymad, in the world fuch non ys. 
Ne ther nys nothing that me fcholde myd ftrengthe adoune. 
'' cafl. 
" Stode heo here, as heo doth there ever a wolde lafl ^" 
The kyng fomdele to lyghe '', tho he herde this tale, 

How mygte, he feyde, fuche ftones fo grete and fo faile%, 
Be ybrogt of fo fer lond ? And get mift of were. 
Me wolde wene, that in this londe no fton to wonke nere," 
Syre kyng, quoth Merlyn, ne make noght an ydel fuch 

" lyghyng. 
For yt nys an ydel noght that ich tell this tythyng ^. 
For in the farrefle ftude of AfFric giands while fette ^ 
Thike ftones for medycyne and in Yrlond hem fette, 
While heo wonenden in Yrlond to make here bathes there, 
Ther undir forto bathi wen thei fyk were. 
For heo wuld the ftones wafch and ther enne bathe ywis. 
For ys no fton ther among that of gret vertu nys ''." 
The kyng and ys confeil radde ' the ftones forto fette, 
And with gret pov/er of batail gef any more hem lette 











'* " Bade him ufc his cunning, for the 
" fake of the bodies of thofe noble and 
«' wife Britons." 

y " If you would build, to their honour, 
** a lafting monument. 

^" Tothe hill ofKildare." ' 

* Have. 

^ " The dance of giants." The name of 
this wonderful aflembly of immenfe ftones. 

e " Grandes funt lapides, nee eft aliquis 
<< cujus virtuti cedant. Quod fi eo modo, 
«« quo ibi poijti funt, circa plateam. loca- 

" buntur, ftabunt in aeternum." Gafrid. 
Mon. viii. x. 1 1. 

'' " Somewhat laughed." 

^ " So. great and fo many." *^ Tyding. 

2 " Giants once brought them from the 
" fartheft part of Africa, &;c." 

'' " Lavabant namque lapides et infra 
" balnea diftundcbant, unde a;groti cura- 
" bantur. Mifcebant etiam cum herbarum 
" confedionibus, unde vulnerati fanaban- 
" tur. Non eft ibi lapis qui medicamento 
•' careat." Galfrid. Mon. ibid. ^ Rode. 



Uter the kynges brother, that Ambrofe hett alfo. 
In another name ychofe was therto, 
And fifteene thoufant men this dede for to do 
And Merlyn for his quointife thider went alfo ''. 

If any thing engages our attention in this pafTage, it is 
the wildnefs of the fi^lion j in which however the poet had 
no fhare. 

I will here add Arthur's intrigue with Ygerne. 

At the fefl of Eflre tho kyng fende ys fonde, 

That heo comen alle to London the hey men of this londe. 

And the levedys al fo god, to ys noble fefl wyde, 

For he fchulde crowne here, for the hye tyde. 

Alle the noble men of this lond to the noble fell come. 

And heore wyves and heore dogtren with hem mony nome^ 

This fefl was noble ynow, and nobiiche y do 3 

For mony was the faire ledy, that y come was therto, 

Ygerne, Gorloys wyf, was faireft of echon, 

That was contalTe of Cornewail, for lb fair nas ther non. 

The kyng by huld hire fade y now, and ys herte on hire cafle. 

And thogte, thay bx€o were wyf, to do folye atte laft. 

^ Pag. 145. T46. 147. That Stone- vourite hero Arthur. This I grant: but 

henge is a Britifli monument, eredted in not when known authenticated fadls flood 

memory of Hengift's mafTacre, refts, I be- in their way, and while the real caufe was 

lieve, on the fole evidence of GeofFry of remembered. Even to this day, the maf- 

Monmouth, who had it from the Britifh facre of Hengift, as I have partly hinted, 

bards. But why fhould not the teflimony is an undifputed piece of hiftory. Why 

of the Britiih bards be allowed on this oc- fhould not the other part of the hiftory be 

cafion ? For they did not invent fadls, fo equally truer Befides the filenceofNennius, 

much as fables. In the prefent cafe. Hen- I am aware, that this hypothefis is ftill at- 

gift's mafTacre is an allowed event. Re- tended with many difficulties and impro- 

move all the apparent fiftion, and the bards babilities. And fo are all the fyftems and 

only fay, that an immenfe pile of ftones conjectures ever yet framed about this 

was raifed on the plain of Ambrefbury in amazing monument. It appears to me, to 

memory of that event. They lived too be the work of a rude people who had fome 

near the time to forge this origin of Stone- ideas of art : fuch as we may fuppofe the 

henge. The whole ftory was recent, and from Romans left behind them among tjie Bri- 

the immenfity of the work itfelf, mufl have tons. In the mean time I do not remem- 

been ftill more notorious. Therefore their ber, that in the very controverted etymo- 

forgery would have been too glaring. It logy of the word Stonehenge the name of 

may be objefted, that they were fond of re- Hengist has been properly or fufTiciently. 

ierring ^^r^ thing ftupcndous to their fa- conftdered. 




He made hire femblant fair y now, to non other fo gret. 

The erl nas not ther with y payed, tho he yt under get. 

Aftur mete he nom ys wyfe myd flordy med y now, 

And, with oute leve of the kyng, to ys contrei drow. 

The kyng fende to hym tho, to by leve al nygt. 

For he mofte of gret confel habbe fom iiifygt. 

That was for nogt. Wolde he nogt the kyng fende get ys 

That he by levede at ys parlemente, for nede of the londe. 
The kyng was, tho he nolde nogt, anguyffous and wroth. 
For defpyte he wolde a wreke be he fwor ys oth, 
Bute he come to amendement. Ys power atte lafle 
He garkede, and,wende forth to Cornewail fafte. 
Gorloys ys cafteles a ftore al a boute. 

In a flrong caftel he dude ys wyf, for of hire was al ys doute. 
In another hym felf he was, for he nolde nogt, 
Gef cas come, that heo were bothe to dethe y brogt. 
The caftel, that the erl inne was, the kyng by fegede fafle, 
For he mygte ys gynnes for fchame to the oter caile. 
Tho he was ther iene nygt, and he fpedde nogt, 
Igerne the contefTe fo muche was in ys thogt. 
That he nufte nen other wyt, ne he ne mygte for fchame 
Telle yt bute a pryve knygt, Ulfyn was ys name. 
That he trufte meil to. And tho the knygt herde this, 
Syre, he feide, y ne can wyte, wat red here of ys, 
For the caftel ys fo ftrong, that the lady ys inne, 
For ich wene al the lond ne fchulde yt myd ftrengthe 

For the fe geth al aboute, but entre on ther nys. 
And that ys up on harde rockes, and fo narw wei it ys, 
That ther may go bote on and on, that thre men with inne 
Mygte fle al the londe, er heo com ther inne. 
And nogt for than, gef Merlyn at thi confeil were, 
Gef any mygte, he couthe the beft red the lere." 







Merlyn was fone of fend, pleid yt was hym fone, 
That he fchulde the befte red fegge, wat were to done. 
Meriyn was fory ynow for the kynge's folye, 
And natheles, " Sire kyng, he feide, there mot to maiftrie, 
" The erl hath twey men hym nert, Brygthoel and Jordan. 
" Ich wol make thi felf gef thou wolt, thoru art that y can^ 
" Habbe al tho fourme of the erl, as thou were rygt he> 
*' And Olfyn as Jordan, and as Brithoel me." 
This art was al clene y do, that al changet he were. 
Heo thre in the otheres forme, the felve at yt were. 
Ageyn even he wende forth, nufle nomon that cas. 
To the caftel heo come rygt as yt evene was. 
The porter y fe ys lord come, and ys mofte privey twei^ 
With god herte he lette ys lord yn, and ys men beye. 
The contas was glad y now, tho hire lord to hire com 
And eyther other in here armes myd gret joye nom. 
Tho heo to bedde com, that fo longe a two were. 
With hem was fo gret delyt, that bitwene hem there 
Bi gete was the befte body, that ever was in this londe, 
Kyng Arthure the noble mon, that ever worthe underftondfe, 
Tho the kynge's men nufte amor we, wer he was bi come, 
Heo ferde as wodemen, and wende he were ynome. 
Heo a faileden the caftel, as yt fchulde a doun anon, 
Heo that with inne were, garkede hem echon, 
And fmyte out in a fole wille, and fogte myd here fon : 
So that the erl was y Have, and of ys men mony on, 
And the caftel was y nome, and the folk to fprad there, 
Get, tho thei hadde al ydo, heo ne fonde not the kyng there,. 
The tything to the contas fone was y come, 
That hire lord was y ftawe, and the caftel y nome. 
Ac tho the meflinger hym fey the erl, as hym thogte, 
That he hadde fo foule plow, ful fore hym of thogte,. 
The contafle made fom del deol, for no fothnefte heo nufte. 
The kyng, for to glade here, bi clupte hire and cuft. 
" • " Dame, 




" Dame, he feide, no fixt thou wel, that les yt ys al this : 
Ne wofl thou wel ich am olyue. Ich wole the fegge how 

it ys. 
Out of the caftel flilleUche ych wende al in privete, 
That none of myne men yt nufle, for to fpeke with the. 
And tho heo mifle me to day, and nufte wer ich was, 
Heo ferden rigt as gydie men, myd warn no red nas. 
And fogte with the folk with oute,and habbeth in this manere 
Y lore the caftel and hem felue, ac well thou woft y am here. 
Ac for miy caftel, that is ylore, fory ich am y now, 
And for myn men, that the kyng and ys power flog. 
Ac my power is now to lute, ther fore y drede fore, 
Lefte the kyng us nyme here, and forwe that we were more. 
Ther fore ich wole, how fo yt be, wende agen the kynge, 
And make my pays with hym, ar he us to fchame brynge." 
Forth he wende, and bet ys men that gef the kyng come. 
That hei fchulde hym the caftel gelde, ar he with ftrengthe 

it nome. 
So he come toward ys men, ys own forme he nom, 
And levede the erle's fourme, and the kyng Uter by com. 
Sore hym of thogte the erle's deth, ac in other half he fonde 
Joye in hys herte, for the contafTe of fpoufhed was unbounde, 
Tho he hadde that he wolde, and payfed with ys fon, 
To the contaiTe he wende agen, me let hym in a non. 
Wat halt it to talle Ionise: bute heo were feth at on, 
In gret loue long y now, wan yt nolde other gon j 
And hadde to gedere this noble fone, that in the world ys 

pere nas, 
The kyng Arture, and a dogter, Anne hire name was '. 

In the latter end of the reign of Edward the firft, many 
officers of the French king having extorted large fums of 

^ CJiron. p. 156. 



money from the citizens of Bruges in Flanders, were mur- 
thered: and an engagement fucceeding, the French army, 
commanded by the count du Saint Pol, was defeated j upon 
which the king of France, who was Philip the Fair, fent a 
flrong body of troops, under the condu6l of the count de 
Artois, againft the Flemings : he was killed, and the French 
were almoft all cut to pieces. On this occafion the follow- 
ing ballad was made in the year 1301 "". 

Lufteneth, lordinges, bothe zonge and olde, 

Of the Freynfhe men that were fo proude ante bolde, . 

How the Flemmyfhe men bohten hem ante folde, 

Upon a V/ednefday, 
Betere hem were at home in huere londe, 
Than force feche Flemifhe bi the fea fcronde 
Whare rouch moni Frenih wyf wryngeth hire honde. 

And fyngeth welaway. 
The kynge of Ffrance made flatutes newe. 
In the londe of Fiaundres among faife ant trewe, 
That the communs of Bruges ful fore can arewe, 

And feiden among hem, 
Gedere we us to gedere hardilyche at ene, 
Take we the bailifs bi twenty and bi tene, 
Clappe we of the hevedes an oven o the grene. 

Ant caft we in the fen. 
The webbes ant the fullarls airembled hem alle, 
And makeden huere counfail in huere commune halle. 
Token Peter conyng huere kynge to call 

Ant be huere cheveteyne, &c ". 

Thefe verfes fhew the familiarity with which the affairs 
of France were known in England, and difplay the difpo- 
fition of the Englifh towards the French, at this period. It 

^ The laft battle was fought that year, Jul. 7. " MSS. Harl. 2253. f 73. b. 

Vol. I. I appears 


appears from this and previous inftances, that political bal- 
lads, I mean fuch as were the vehicles of political fatire, 
prevailed much among our early anceftors. About the pre- 
fent era, we meet with a ballad complaining of the exhor- 
bitant fees extorted, and the numerous taxes levied, by the 
king's officers °. There is a libel remaining, written indeed 
in French Alexandrines, on the commiffion of trayl-bafton ^, 
or the juftices fo denominated by Edward the firil, during 
his abfence in the French and Scotch wars, about the year 
1306. The author names fome of the juftices or commif- 
fioners, now not eafily difcoverable : and fays, that he ferved 
the king both in peace and war in Flanders, Gafcony, and 
Scotland ^ There is likewife a ballad againft the Scots, trai- 
tors to Edward the firft, and taken prifoners at the battles 
of Dunbar and Kykenclef, in 1305, and 1306 '. The licen- 
tioufnefs of their rude manners was perpetually breaking 
out in thefe popular pafquins, although this fpecies of pe- 
tulance ufually belongs to more polifhed times. 

Nor were they lefs dexterous than daring in pubUfhing 
their fatires to advantage, although they did not enjoy the 
many conveniencies vv^hich modern improvements have afforded 
for the circulation of public abufe. In the reign of Henry the 
fixth, to purfue the topic a little lower, we find a ballad of 
this fpecies ftuck on the gates of the royal palace, feverely 
reflefting on the king and his counfellors then fitting in par- 
liament. This piece is preferved in the Alhmolean mufeum, 
with the following Latin title prefixed. " Copiafcedida 'vahis 
" domini regis exijientis in parliamcnto fuo tento apiid Wejhnoiiaf- 
" teriwn menfe marcii anno I'egni Henrici fexti 'vice/imo oBavo." 
But the antient ballad was often applied to better purpofes : 
and it appears from a valuable colleftion of thefe little pieces, 

• Ibid. f. 64. There is a fong half And Rob. Brunne's Chron. ed. Hearne, 

I.a'in and halt' French, much on the fame p. 328. 
fabjea. Ibid. f. 137. b. 'J MSS. Harl. ibid. f. 113. b. 

f See Spelman and Dufrefne in Voc. ^ Ibid. f. 59. 



lately publiflied by my ingenious friend and fellow-labourer 
doftor Percy, in how much more ingenuous a ftrain they 
have tranfmitted to pofterity the praifes of knightly he- 
roifm, the marvels of romantic fiftion, and the complaints 
of love. 

At the clofe of the reign of Edv/ard the firil, and in the 
year 1303, a poet occurs named Pvobert Mannyng, but more 
commonly called Robert de Brunne. He was a Gilbertine 
monk in the monaftery of Brunne, or Bourne, near Depyng 
in Lincolnfliire : but he had been before profefied in the 
priory of Sixhille, a houfe of the fame order, and in the' 
fame county. He was merely a tranflator. He tranflated 
into Englifn metre, or rather paraphrafed, a French book, 
written by Grofthead bifhop of Lincoln, entitled, Manuel 
Peche, or Manuel de Peche, that is, the Manual of 
Sins. This tranflation was never printed '. It is a long 
work, and treats of the decalogue, and the feven deadly fnis, 
which are illuftrated with many legendary ftories. This is 
the title of the tranflator. " Here bygynneth the boke that 
*' men clepyn in Frenfhe Manuel Peche, the which boke 
" made yn Frenfhe Robert Grooflefte byfhop of Lyncoln." 
From the Prologue, among other circumflances, it appears 
that Robert de Brunne defigned this performance to be fung 
to the harp at public entertainments, and that it was written 
or begun in the year 1303 '. 

For lewed " men I undyrtoke, 

In Englyfhe tonge to make this boke : 

For many beyn of fuche manere 

That talys and rymys wyle blethly ^ here. 

' MSS. Bibl. Bodl. N. 415. membr. » Fol. i. a. 

fol. Cont. 80. pag. Pr. ♦• Fadyr and fone " Laymen, illiterate. 

" and holy gofte." And MSS.Harl.1701. ^ Gladly. 

I 2 In 


In gamys and feftys at the ale * 

Love men to leftene trotonale ^ : 

To all cryftyn men undir funne. 

And to gode men of Brunne j 

And fpecialli al bi name 

The felaufhipe of Symprynghame % 

Roberd of Brunne greteth yow. 

In alle godenefle that may to prow \ 

Of Brymwake yn Keflevene ^ 

Syxe myle befyde Sympryngham evene, 

Y dwelled in the priorye 

Fyftene yere in cumpanye, 

In the tyme of gode Dane Jone 

Of Camelton that now is gone ; 

In hys tyme was I ther ten yeres 

And knew^ and herde of hys maneres ; 

Sythyn with Dan Jon of Clyntone 

Fyve wyntyr wyth hym gan I wone, 

Dan Felyp was mayftyr in that tyme 

That I began thys Englysfli ryme, 

The yeres of grace fyd ' than to be 

A thoufand and thre himdred and thre. 

In that tyme turned y thys 

In Englyfh tonge out of Frankys. 

* So in the Fijion of P. Plowman, fol. Masi's Talf, p. 185. Urr. edit. v. 2 no. 
xxvi. b. edit. 1550. ^j^j jj^g ^.j^-gf chantours at the nak. 

I am occupied every day, holy day and y j,^^^^ ^^^ ^jj^ 


^ The name of his order. » Profit. 

With idle tales at the Ale, Sec. bApartofLincolnlhirc.Chron.Br.p.31 1! 

Again, fol. 1. b. ^j Lincoln the parlement was in Lyndefay 

— Foughten at the Ale and Keltevene. 

In glotony, godwote, &c. Lyndefay is Lincolnfhire, ibid. p. 248. See 

Chaucer mentions an AleJInke, Prol. v. 6Sg. a (lory of three monks of Lyndefay, ibid. 

Perhaps, a May-pole. And in the P/ooi;- p. 80. •= Fell. 



From the work itfelf I am chiefly induced to give the fol- 
lowing fpecimen ; as it contains an anecdote relating to 
bifliop Grofthead his author, who will again be mentionedy 
and on that account. - 

Y fhall you tell as I have herd 
Of the byfshop feynt Roberd, 
Hys toname "^ is Groftefte 
Of Lyncohie, fo feyth the gefte. 
He lovede moche to here the harpe,. 
For mans witte yt makyth fliarpe. 
Next hys chamber, befyde hys ftudy, 
Hys harper's chamber was fall: the by. 
Many tymes, by nightes and dayes. 
He hadd folace of notes and layes. 
One afkede hem the refun why 
He hadde delyte in mynflrelfy ? 
He anfwerde hym on thys manere 
Why he helde the harpe fo dere. 

The virtu of the harp, thurgh ikyle and ryght, 

Wyll deftrye the fendys * myght j 

And to the cros by gode fkeyl 

Ys the harpe lykened weyl. — 

Thirefore, gode men, ye fliall lere. 

When ye any gleman ^ here, 

To worfliepe God at your power. 

And Davyd in the fauter ^ 
" Yn harpe and tabour and fymphan gle ^' 

Worfhip God in trumpes ant fautre ; 





^ Surname. See Rob. Br. Chron. p. * Chaucer R. Sir Thop. v. 332:. Urr, 

168. " Thei cald hi this toname, &c." edit. p. 135. 

Fr. " Eft furnomez, &c." 

•= Fiend's The DenjiPs. Here wonnith the queene of Fairie, 

* Harper. Minftrel. s Pfalter, With harpe, and pipe, and SimjihQnie. 




" Yn cordes, yn organes, and bells ringyng, 
" Yn all thefe worlhip the hevene kyng, &c'." 

But Robert de Brunne's largefl work is a metrical chro- 
nicle of England '', The former part, from ^neas to the 
death of Cadwaiiader, is tranflated from an old French poet 
called Maister. Wage or Gasse, who manifeftly copied 
GeofFry of Monmouth ', in a poem commonly entitled Ro- 
man DE Rois d'Angleterre. It is eileemed one of the oldeft 
of the French romances, and was begun to be written by 
Euilace, fometimes called Euflache, Wiflace, or Huiflace, 
who finiflied his part vmder the title of Brut d'Angleterre, 
in the year 1155. Hence Robert de Brunne, fomewhat in- 
accurately, calls it fmiply the Brut "". This romance was 

^ Fol. 30. b. There is an old Latin 
fong in Burton's Melancholy, which I find 
in this MS. poem. Burton's Mel. Partiii, 
§ 2. Memb. iii. pag. 423. 

^ The fecond part was printed by Hearne 
at Oxford, which he calls Peter Lang- 
toft's Chronicle, 1725. Of the Firft 
part Hearne has given us the Prologue, 
Pref. p. 96. An Extradl, ibid. p. 188. 
And a few other paflages in his Glofiary 
to Robert of Gloucefter. But the Firft 
Part was never printed entire. Hearne 
fays this Chronicle was not finifhed till the 
year 1338. Rob. Glouceft. Pref. p. 59. 
It appears that our author was educated 
and graduated at Cambridge, from Chron. 

P* 337- . . ^ 

' In the Britifli Muieum there is a frag- 
ment of a poem in very old French verfe, 
a romantic hlftory of England, drawn from 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, perhaps before the 
year 1200. MSS Harl. 1605 i. f. 1. Cod. 
membran. 4to. In the manufcript library 
cf doclor N. Johnfon of Pontefraft, now 
perhaps difperfed, there was a manufcript 
on vellam, containing a hillory in old Eng- 
lifh verfe from Brute to the eighteenth year 
of Edward the fecond. And in that of 
Bafil lord Denbigh, a metrical hiftory in 
Englifli from the iame period, to Henry 
the third. Wanly fuppofed it to have been 
of the hand-writing of the time of Edward 
the fourth. 

'^ The Brut of England, a profe 
Chronicle of England, fometimes continued 
as low as Henry the fixth, is a common ma- 
nufcript. It was at firft tranflated from a 
French Chronicle [MSS. Harl. 200. 4to.] 
written in the beginning of the reign of 
Edward the third. I think it is printed by 
Caxton under the title of FruSius Temporum. 
The French have a famous antient profe 
romance called Brut, which includes Ae 
hiftory of the Sangreal. I know not whe- 
ther it isexadly the fame. In an old me-, 
trical romance. The ftory of Rollo, there 
is this paffage. MS. Vernon, Bibl. Bodl. 
f. 123. 

Lordus gif ye wll leften to me. 
Of Croteye the nobile citee 
As wrytten i fynde in his ftory 
Of Bruit the chronicle, &c. 

In the Britifli Mufeum we have, Le petit 
Bruit, compiled by Meiftre Raufe deBoun, 
and ending with the death of Edward the 
firft. MSS. Harl. 902. f. 1. Cod. chart, 
fol. It is an abridgement of the grand 
Brut. In the fame library I find Liher 
deBKVTO et de geftis Angloriim mctrifcatus. 
That is, turned into rude Latin hexameters. 
It is continued to the death of Richard 
the fecond. Many profe annotations are 
intermixed. MSS. ibid. i8o8. 24. f. 31, 
Cod. membran. 410. In another copy of 




foon afterwards continued 'to William Rufus, by Robert 
Wace or Vace, Gafle or Gace, a native of Jerfey, educated 
at Caen, canon of Bayeux, and chaplain to Henry the fecond, 
under the title of Le Roman le Rou et les Vies des Dues 
DE NoRMANDiE, yet fometimes preferving its original one, 
in the year 11 60". Thus both parts were blended, and 
became one work. Among the royal manufcripts in the 
Britilh Mufeum it is thus entitled : " Le Brut, kc maijire 
*' Wace tranfiata de Latin en Franceis de tutt les Reis de Brit-- 
" taigne °..' That is, from the Latin profe hiflory of Geoffry 
of Monmouth. And that mafter Wace aimed only at the 
merit of a tranflator, appears from his exordial verfcs. 

Maiflre Gafie 1' a tranflate 
Que en conte le verite. 

Otherwife we might have fufpe6led that the authors drew 
their materials from the old fabulous Armoric manufcript, 
which is faid to have been Geoffry's original. 

this piece, one Peckward is faid to be the 
verfifier. MSS. ib. 2386. 23. f. 35. In 
another manufcript the grand Brut is faid 
to be tranflated from the French by " John 
" Maundeulc parfon of Brunham Thorpe." 
MSS. ibid. 2279. 3. 

" See Lenglet, Biblioch. des Romans, 
ii. p. 226. 227. And Lacombe, Diftion. de 
Vieux Lang. Fr. pref. p. xviii. Parif. 1767. 
8vo. And compare Montfauc. Catal, Ma- 
nufcr. ii. p. 1669. See alfo M. Galland, 
Mem. Lit. iii. p. 426. 8vo. 

" 3 A. xxi. 3. It occurs again, 4 C. 
xi. " Hilloire d'Angleterrc en vers, par 
*• Maifter Wace." I cannot help corredl- 
ing a miftakeinto which both Wanley and 
bifhop Nicholfon have fallen, with re- 
gard to this Wace. In the Cotton library, 
a Saxo-norman manufcript occurs twice, 
which feems to be a tranflation of GeofFry's 
Hiftory, or very like it. Calig. A. ix. 
AndOtho. C. 13. 4to. In vellum. The 
tranflator is oneLazamon, a prieft, born at 

Ernly on Severn. He fays, that he had 
his original from the book of a French 
clergyman, named f^^ate ; which book 
I-Fate the author had prefcnted to Eleanor 
queen of Henry the fecond. So Lazamon 
in the preface. '• But he nom the thridde, 
*' leide ther amidden : tha makede a 
" frenchis clerc ;Wate [Wate]\vesihoten, 
*' &c." Now becaufe Geoffry of Mon- 
mouth in one of his prefaces, cap. i. b. i. 
fays, that he received his original from the 
hands of Walter Mapes, archdeacon of Ox-- 
ford ; both Wanly and Nicholfon fuppole 
that the tJ^afe mentioned by Lazamon, is 
Walter Mapes. Whereas Lazamon un- 
doubtedly means Wace, perhaps written or 
called Wate, author of Le Roman le 
Rou above-mentioned. Nor is the Saxon 
t [t] perfectly diftinguifliable from c. See 
Wanley's Catal. Hickes's Thefaur. ii. p. 
228. And Nicholfon Hill. Libr. i. 3. And 
compare I.eland's Coll. vol. i. P. ii. p. 509, 
edit. 1770. 



Although this romance, in its antient and early manu- 
fcripts, has conftantly palTed under the name of it. finiflier, 
Wace 3 yet the accurate Fauchett cites it by the name of its 
iirft author Euftace ^. And at the fame time it is extraor- 
dinary, that Robert de Brunne, in his Prologue, fliould not 
once mention the name of Euftace, as having any concern 
in it : fo foon was the name of the beginner fuperfeded by 
that of the continuator. An ingenious French antiquary 
very juftly fuppofes, that Wace took many of his defcrip- 
tions from that invaluable and fmgular monument the T^apejiry 
of the Norman conqiiejl, preferved in the treafury of the ca- 
thedral of Bayeux '' and lately engraved and explained in the 
learned do6lor Du Carell's Anglo-Norman Antiquities. 
Lord Lyttelton has quoted this romance, and fliewn that im- 
portant fa6ls and curious illuftrations of hiftory may be 
drawn from fuch obfolete but authentic refources \ 

The meafure ufed by Robert de Brunne, in his tranflation 
of the former part of our French chronicle or romance, is 
exa6lly like that of his original. Thus the Prologue. 

Lordynges that be now here. 

If ye wiile liftene and lere, 

All the ftory of Inglande, 

Als Robert Mannyng wryten it fand. 

And on Inglyfch has it fchewed. 

Not for the lered but for the lewed ; 

For tho that on this lond wonn 

That the Latin ne Frankys conn, 

For to half folace and gamen 

In felaufchip when tha fitt famen 

And it is wifdom forto wytten 

The flate of the land, and hef it wryten, 

' Rec. p. 82. edit. 1581. 

'' Monf. Lancelot, Mem. Lit. viii. 6oz. 4to. And fee Hifl. Acad. Infcrlpt. xiii. 41. 410. 

' Hill. Henr. IL vol. iii. p. 180. 



What maiiere of folk firft it wan, 

And of what kynde it firft began. 

And gude it is for many thynges. 

For to here the dedis of kynges, 

Whilk were foles, and whilk were wyfe. 

And whilk of tham couth moft quantyfe ; 

And why Ik did wrong, and whilk ryght. 

And whilk mayntened pes and fyght. 

Of thare dedes fall be mi fawe, 

In what tyme, and of what law, 

I fhoU yow from gre to gre. 

Sen the tyme of Sir Noe : 
From Noe unto Eneas, 
And what betwixt tham was. 
And fro Eneas till Brutus tyme, 
That kynde he tells in this ryme. 
For Brutus to Cadweladres, 
The laft Briton that this lande lees, 
Alle that kynd and alle the frute 
That come of Brutus that is the Brute 5 
And the ryght Brute is told no more - 

Than the Brytons tyme wore. 
After the Bretons the Inglis camen, 
The lordfchip of this land thai namen -, 
South, and north, weft, and eaft. 
That call men now the Inglis geft. 
When thai firft among the Bretons, 
That now ere Inglis than were Saxons, 
Saxons Inglis hight all oliche. 
Thai aryved up at Sandwyche, 
In the kynges fynce Vortogerne 
That the lande wolde tham not werne, &c. 
One mayfter Wage the Frankes telles 
The Brute all that the Latin fpelles, 
Vol. I. K Fro 



Fro Eneas to Cadwaladre, &c. 

And ryght as mayfter Wace fays, 

I telle myne Inglis the fame ways, &c '. 

The fecond part of Robert de Brunne's Chronicle, be- 
ginning from Cadwallader, and ending with Edward the firft, 
is tranflated, in great meafure, from the fecond part of a 
French metrical chronicle, written in five books, by Peter 
Langtoft, an Auguftine canon of the monaftery of Brid- 
lington in Yorkfhire, who wrote not many years before his 
tranflator. This is mentioned in the Prologue preceding the. 
fecond part. 

Frankis fpech is cald romance *, 
So fais clerkes and men of France* 
Pers of Langtoft, a chanon 
Schaven in the houfe of Bridlyngton. 
On Frankis ftyle this ftorie he wrote 
Of Inglis kinges, &c ». 

As Langtoft had written his French poem in Alexan- 
drines "\ the tranflator, Robert de Brunne, has followed him, 
the Prologue excepted, in ufmg the double diftich for one 
line, after the manner of Robert of Glouceller. As in the 
firft part he copied the metre of his author Wace. But I 
will exhibit a fpecimen from both parts. In the firft, he gives 

* Hearne's edit. Pref. p. 98. 

* The Latin tongue ceafed to be fpoken 
in France about the ninth century ; and was 
fucceeded by what was called the Ro mange 
tongue. A mixture of Frankifh and bad 
Latin. Hence the firft poems in that lan- 
guage are ca'led Romans orRoMANXs. 
LlTay on Pope, p. 281. In the following 
paffages of >his Chronicle, where Robert 
de Brunne mentions Romance, he fome- 
times mei;ns Langtoft^'s French book, from 
wl-dch he tianliated, viz. Chron. p. 205. 

This that I have faid it Is Pers fawe 

Als he in Romance laid thereafter gan I 

See Chauc. Rom. R. v. 2170. Alfo Ba- 
lades, p. 554. V. 508. Urr. And Crefcem- 
bin. Iftor. della Volg Poef. vol. i. L. v. 
p. 316. feq. 

" Hearne's edit. Pref. p. 106. 

■* Some are printed by Hollingfh. Hift. 
iii. 469. Others by Hearne, Chron. Langt. 
Pref. p. 58. And in the margin of the 
pages of the Chronicle. 



us this dialogue between Merlin's mother and king Vortigern* 
from Mailer Wace. j:/j 

Dame, faid the kyng, welcom be thow : 

Nedeli at the I mette witte how " 

Who than gate ^ thi fone Merlyn 

And on what maner was he thin ? 

His moder ftode a throwe' and thought 

Are fcho * to the kyng anfuerd ouht : 

When fcho had flanden a litelle wight "", 

Scho faid, by Jhefu in Mari light, 

That I ne faugh hym never ne knewe 

That this knave " on me fewe \ 

Ne I will, ne I herd. 

What maner fchap with me fo ferd '. 

But this thing am I wole ograunt ^, 

That I was of elde avenaunt ^ : 

One com to my bed I wift, 

With force he me halfed ^ and kiil: : 

AIs ' a man I him felte, 

Als a man he me welte " -, 

AIs a man he fpake to me. 

Bot what he was, myght I not fe '. 

The following, extra6led from the fame part, is the fpeech 
of the Romans to the Britons, after the former had built a 
wall againft the Pi6ls, and were leaving Britain. 

We haf clofed ther mofl nede was 5 
And yf ye defend wele that pas 

* " I muft by all means know of you." g « I was then young and beautiful." 

I Sf°"' .., ' ^"^^Ah ' ^'''■^^- 'Embraced. • As. ^mel^ea, moved. 

fb^te, while. = Child. d Begott. ' Apud Hearne's Gl. Rob. GIouc. p. 

* 1-ay. f Affured. 721. ^ 

K 2 With 



With archers " and with magnels ", 
And kepe wele the kyrnels -, 
Ther may ye bothe fchote and cafl 
Waxes bold and fend you faft. 
Thinkes your faders wan franchife, 
Be ye no more in other fervife : 
But frely lyf to your lyves end: 
We fro you for ever wende *, 

Vortigern king of the Britons, is thus defcribed meeting 
the beautiful princefs Rouwen, daughter of Hengift, the Ro- 

yr'-\r' rtr'r 

"^ Not Boivmeri, but apertures in the 
wall for (hooting arrows. Viz. In the repairs 
of Taunton caftle, 1 266. Comp. J. Gerneys, 
Epifc. Wint. •' Tantonia. Expetife do- 
•' morum. In mercede Cementarii pro mu- 
*' ro erigendo juxta turrim ex parte orien- 
*' tali cum Kernellis et Archeriis faciendis, 
** xvi.s. vi. d." In Archiv. Wolvef. apud 
Wint. Ktrnelh mentioned here, and in the 
next verfe, were much the fame thing : or 
perhaps battlements. In repairs of the- 
great hall at Wolvefey-palace, I find, " In 
*' kyrnillis emptis ad idem, xii. d." Ibid. 
There is a patent granted to the monks of 
Abingdon, in Berklhire, in the reign of 
Edward the third, " Pro kernellatione mo- 
" nafterii." Pat. an. 4. par. i. 

" Cotgreve has abfurdly interpreted this 
word, an old-fajhioved Jling. V. Mango- 
■NEAU. It is a catapult, or battering-ram. 
Viz. Rot. Pip. An. 4. Hen. iii. [A. D. 
1219.] " N o R D H A N T . Et in cxpenfis regis 
•' in obfidione calbi de Rockingham, 100/. 
*' perBr.P<.eg.Et cuRodibusingeniorum [en- 
" gines] regis ad ea carimda ufqueBifham, 
" ad callrum illud obhdendum, 13s. lod. 
" per id. Br. Et pro duobus coriis, 
'* empris apud Northampton ad fundas pe- 
" rrariarum et mangonellorum regis faci- 
** ciendas, 5.3. 6d. per id. Br. Reg. " — 
Rot. Pip. ix, Hen. iii. [A. D. 1225.] 
•••'SuRR. Ccrr.p. de Cnareburc. Et pro vii. 
••1 cablis emptis ad petrarias et mango- 
♦« nellos in eodem cailro, -/. iir/." Ret. 
Pip. 5 Hsn. iii. [A. D. !2i:o.] " De- 

" voNs. Et in cufto pofito in i. petraria 
'• et II. mangonellis cariatis a Notting- 
*' ham ufque Bilham, etin eifdem reduftis 
*' a Bilham ufque Nottingham, 7/. 4.?." 
Chaucer mentions both Mangonels and.- 
Kyrnils, in a caflle in. the Romaunt of the 
Rc/e, V. 4195. 6.279. AMo archers, i.e. 
archeri^, V. 4191. So in the French i?o-. 
m3>i de laRo/e, v, 3945.. 

Vouspulffiez bien les Mangonneaulxy^ 
Veoir la par'deffus les Craieaulx.. 
Et aux archieres de la Tour 
Sont arbalellres tout entour. 

Archieres occur often in this poem. Chau- 
cer, in tranflating the above pafTage, h;is 
introduced guns, which were not known 
when the original was written, v. 4191. 

I am of opinion, that fome of the great 
military battering engines, fo frequently 
mentioned in the hillories and other writers 
of the dark ages, were fetched from the 
crufades See a fpccies of the catapult,, 
ufed by the Syrian army in the fiege of 
Mecca, about the year 680. Mod. Univ. 

Hift. B. 

1. c. 2. torn. M. p. 11; 


expeditions into the call undoubtedly much 
improved the European art of war. I'afTo's 
warlike machines, which feem to be the 
poet's invention, arc formed on defcriptions. 
of fuch wonderful machines which he had 
read in the crufadc hiilorians, particularly 
V/iihclmus Tyrcnfis. 

" Glofl'.Rob. GIouc. p. 6(j\. 




famond of the Saxon ages, at a feaft of wafTaile. It is a cuV 
rious pi6lure of the gallantry of the times. 

Hengeft that day did his might, 

That alle were glad, king and knight. 

And as thei were beft in glading, 

And ^ wele cop fchotin knight and king,. 

Of chambir Rouewen fo gent. 

Be fore the king in halle fcho went. 

A coupe with wyne fche had in hand,. 

And hir '^ hatire was wele ' farand. 

Be fore the king on kne fett, 

And on hir langage fcho him grett. 

" Lauerid ' king, Waflaille," feid fche. 
The king afked, what fuld be- 
On that langage the king ' ne couthe.. 
A knight " ther langage "^ lerid in youthe, . 
Breg "" hiht that knight born Bretoun, . 
That lerid the langage of ^' SefToun. 
This Breg was the '-" latimer. 
What fcho.faid told Vortager, . 

P Sending about the cups apace. C.arouf-" 
ing biifkly. 

4 Attire. ■■ Very rich. » Lord., 

' Was not {killed. " The. , '«' Learned. 

^ Was called. y Saxons. 

^ For Laftner, or Lat'mier, an Iriterprg- 
ter. Thus, in the Romance of king Ri- 
chard, hereafter cited at large, Saladin's 
Latimer at the fiege of Babylon proclaims 
a truce to the chrilHan army from the walls 
of the city. Signat, M. i. 

The Latemere tho tourned his eye 
To that other fyde of the toune. 
And cryed trues with gret foune. 

In which fenfe the French word occurs in 
the Roman de Ga.ri^. MSS. Bibl. Reg. 
Parif. Num. 7542.- 

Latimer fu fi fot parler Romanj 
Englois, Gallois, et Breton, et Norman, 

And again, 

Uri L A T I N I E R vieii ferant et hcnu 
Molt fot de plet, et molt entrefnie fu. 

And in the manufcrlpt Roman de Roiif, 
which will again be mentioned. 

L'archevel^^ue Franches a Jumeges ala, 
A Rou, et a fa gent par Lati n i e r parla. 

We find it in Froiffart, torn, iv, c. 87, 
And in other antient French writers. In the 
old Norman poem on the: fubjert of king 
Dermod's expulfion from his kingdom of 
L:eLmd, in the Lambeth library, it feems 




Sir> Bi eg feid, Rowen yow gretis. 
And king cailis and lord yow * letis. 
This es ther cuflom and ther geft. 
Whan thei are atte the ale or fell. 
lik man that louis quare him think, 
Salle fay Woflbiilej and to him drink. 
He that bidis faile fay, WafTaille, 
The tother falle fay again, Drinkhaille. 
That fais WolTeilie drinkis of the cop, 
Kiffand ^ his felaw he gives it up. , 
Drinkheille, he fais, and drinke ther pf, 
Kiffand him in bourd and ' ikof." 
The king faid, as the knight gan '' ken, 
Drinkheille, fmiland on Rouewen. 
Rouwen drank as hire liil, 
And gave the king, " fnie him kift. 
There was the fir It walfailie in dede, 
And that firft of fame ^ gede. 
Of that waflaille men told grete tale. 
And waffaille whan thei were at ale. 
And drinkheille to tham that drank. 
Thus was waffaille ^ fane to thank, 

Fele •" fithes that maidin ' ying, ^ 

Waffailed and kill the king. 
Of bodi fche was right " avenant, 
Of fair colour, with fwete ' femblaunt. 

more properly to fignify, in a limited fenfe, 
the ihig's dome/lie Secretary. 

Par fon demeine L a t i n i e R 

Que moi conta de luy I'hiftoire, &c. 

See lord Lyttelton's Hift. Hen. ii. vol. iv. 
App. p. 270. We might here render it 
literally his Latinijf, an officer retained by 
the king to draw up the public inftruments 
in Latin, as inDoMESDAi-BOOK. '* God- 
•* winus accipitrarius, Hugo Latina- 

" Rius, Milo portarlus." MS. Ex- 
cerpt, penes me. But in both the laft in- 
ftances the word may bear its more general 
and extenfive figniiication. Camden ex- 
plains Latimer \iy interpreter. Rem. p. 
158. See alfo p. 151. edit. 1674. 

^ Efteems. '' KilTing. = Sport, joke. 

<• To fignify. ^ Since, afterwards. 

f Went. s Taken. ^ Many times. 

' Young. 

^ Handfomc, gracefully fhaped, &c. 

■ Countenance. 



Hir " hatire fulle wele it femed, 
Mervelik ° the king fche ° quemid. 
Oute of mefTure was he glad, 
For of that maidiii he wer alle mad, 
Drunkenes the feend wroght, 
Of that p paen was al his thoght. 
A mefchaunche that time him led, 
He afked that paen for to wed. 
Hengill "^ wild not draw a lite,, 
Bot graunted him alle fo tite. 
And Hors his brother confentid fone. 
Her frendis faid, it were to done. 
Thei afked the king to gife hir Kent, 
In douary to take of rent. 

pon that maidin his hert fo caft. 
That thei afkid the king made fail. 

1 wene the king toke her that day. 
And wedded hire ' on paiens lay. 
Of preiL was ther no ' benifon 
No nies fongen, no onion. 

In feifine he hid her that night. 

Of Kent he gave Hengift the right. 

The erelie that time, that Kent alle held. 

Sir Goragon, that had the fcheld, 

Of that gift no thing ^ ne will: 

To "he was cafl oute " wdth Hengift *. 

In the fecond part, copied from Peter Langtoft, the at- 
tack of Richard the firft, on a caftle held by the Saracens,. 
is thus, defcribed. 

"" Attire. " Marvelloufly. » Pleafed. ^ Benediftion, bleffing. 

P Pagan, heathen. t Knevv not. 

1 Would not fiy off a bit. " Till. 

■■ In pagans law. According to the hea- * By. 

theniili cuftom. ^ y- Hcarne's Gl. Rob. Glo. p. 695:. 


72 ; THE HISTORY of: 

The dikes were fulle wide that clofed the caflle about, 

And depe on ilka fidcj with bankis hie without. 

Was ther non entre that to the caftelle gan ligge % 

Bot a ftreiht kauce ^ ^ at the end a drauht brigge. 

With grete duble cheynes drauhen over the gate, 

And fifti armed fuyenes ^ porters at that yate. 

With flenges and magueies * thei kaft ^ to kyng Rychard 

Our criften by parcelles kafted ageynward % 

Ten fergeauns of the beft his targe gan him here 

That egre were and prefl to covere hym and to were ''. 

Himlelf as a geaunt the cheynes in tuo hew, 

The targe was his warant ^ that non tille him threw. 

Kight unto the gate with the targe thei yede 

Fightand on a gate, undir him the flouh his flede, 

Therfor ne wild he fefTe \ alone into the caftele 

Thorgh tham all wild prefle on fote faught he fulle wele. 

And whan he was withinne, and fauht as a wilde leon, 

He fondred the Sarazins otuynne ^ and fauht as a dragon. 

Without the criften gan crie, alias ! Richard is taken, 

Tho Normans were forie, of contenance gan blaken. 

To ilo downe and to ftroye never wild thei ftint 

Thei left for dede no noye \ ne for no wound no dynt, 

That in went alle their pres, maugre the Sarazins alle, 

An fond Richard on des fightand, and wonne the halle '\ 

From thefe paffages it appears, that Robert of Brunne has 
fcarcely more poetry than Robert of Glocefter. He has 
however taken care to acquaint his readers, that he avoided 

"^ Lying. y Caufey. '' Ward, defend. 

^ Sxvaitis, young men, foldiers. "^ Guard, defence. 

? Man^otiels. vid. fupr. ^ CalL ' " He could not ceafe." 

•^ 111 Langtoft's French, s " He formed the Saracens into two 

*'. Dis feriauntz des plus feres e de melz *' parties." 

vanez, f Annoy. 

'* Devaunt le cors le Reis fa targe cunt * Chron. p. 182. 'l 83. 

portcz." . , , , 




high defcription, and that fort of phrafeology which was 
then ufed by the minftrels and harpers : that he rather 
aimed to give information than pleafure, and that he was 
more ftudious of truth than ornament. As he intended his 
chronicle to be fung, at leaft by parts, at pubUc feftivals, 
he found it expedient to apologife for thefe deficiencies in 
the prologue j as he had partly done before in his prologue 
to the Manual of Sins. 

I mad noght for no difours " 
Ne for feggers no harpours, 
Bot for the luf of fymple men, 
That flrange Inglis cannot ken ' : 
For many it ere "' that ftrange Inglis 
In ryme wate " never what it is. 
I made it not for to be prayfed, 
Bot at the lewed men were ayfed ^ 

He next mentions feveral forts of verfe, or profody ; which 
were then fafhionable among the minftrels, and have been 
long fince unknov/n. 

If it were made in ryme couwce. 
Or m.Jir anger e or enterlace^ &c. 

He adds, that the old ftories of chivalry had been fo difguifed 
by foreign terms, by additions and alterations, that they 

^ Tale-tellers, Narratorest Lat. Con- 
teours, Fr. Seggers in the next line per- 
haps means the fame thing, i. e. Savers. 
The writers either of metrical or of profe 
romances. See Antholog. Fran. p. 17. 1765. 
8vo. Or Difours may fignify Difcourfe^ 
i. e. adventures in profe. We have the 
" Devil's difours," in P. Plowman, fol. xxxi. 
b. edit. 1550. Difour precifely iignifies a 
tale-teller at afeajl in Gower, Conf. Amant. 
Lib. vii. fol. 155. a. edit. Berthel. 1554. 

Vol. I. 

He is fpeaking of the coronation feftival 
of a Roman Emperor. 

AVTien he was gladefl: at his mete. 
And every minftrell had plaide 
And every dissour had faide 
Which moft was pleafaunt to his ere. 

Du Cange fays, that Difeurs were judges 
of the turney. DifT. Joinv. p, 179. 

1 Know, f" // ere. There are. " Knew. 

° Eafed. 

L were 



were now become unintelligible to a common audience : and 
particularly, that the tale of Sir Tristram, the nobleft of 
all, was much changed from the original compofition of its 
firfl author Thomas. 

I fee in fong in fedgeying tale ^ 

Of Erceldoune, and Kendale, 

Non thara fays as thai tham wroght % 

And' ' in ther faying it femes noght. 

That may thou here in Sir Triftram * i 

Over geilcs ' it has the fleem ", 

Over all that is or was. 

If men yt fayd as made Thomas. — - 

P " Among the romances that are fang, 
" &c." 

^ " None recite them as they were firll 
*' written." 

^ " As Tiej tell them." 

• " This you may fee, &c." 

* Hearne fays that Gejis were oppofed to 
Rotnance. Chron. Langt. Pref. p. 37. But 
this is a miftake. Thus we have the Gejie 
of kyng Home, a very old metrical Ro- 
mance. MSS Harl. 2253. p. 70. Alfo 
in the Prologue of Rychard Cuer de Lyan. 

King Richard is the beft 
That is found in zny jejie. 

And the paflage in the text is a proof againft 
his affertion. Chaucer, in the following 
paffage, by Jestours, does not mean 
Jejiers in modern fignification, but writers 
of adventures. Honfe of Fame, v. 108. 

And Jestours that tellcn tales 
Both of wepyng and of game. 

In the Hoiife of Fame he alfo places thofe 
who wrote *• olde Gejies." v. 425. It is 
however obvious to obferve from whence 
the prefcnt term "Jeji arofe. See Fauchet, 

Rec. p. 73. In P. Plowman, we hzvejob^s 
"Jejies. fol. xlv. b. 

Job the gentyl in his Jefles, greatly wyt- 

That is, " Job in the account of his Life." 

In the fame page we have,. 

And japers and judgelers, and jangelers of 


That is, Minftrels, Reciters of tales. Other 
illuftrations of this word will occur in the 
courfe of the work. Chatfons dc gejles were 
common in France in the thirteenth century 
among the troubadours. See Mem. concer- 
nant les princlpaux monumens de I'hiftoire 
de France, Mem. Lit. xv. p. 582. by the 
very learned and ingenious M. de la Curne 
de Sainte Palaye. I add the two firll lines of a 
manufcript entitled, Art de Kabtider par 
Rauf, who lived i 256. Bibl. Bodl. J. b. 2., 
Th. [Langb. MSS. 5.439.] 

De gefe ne voil pas chanter, 
Ne -ueilles ejloires el canter. 

There is even Grfa Pi^ffionis et Refurrec- 
tionis Chrifii, in many manufcript libraries, 
" Efteem. 



Thai fayd in Co quaynte Inglis 

That manyone '" wate not what it is. — 

And forfooth I couth nought 

So ftrange Inglis as thai wroght. 

On this account, he fays, he was perfuaded by his friends to 
write his chronicle in a more popular and eafy ftyle, that 
would be better underflood. 

And men bcfought me many a time, 
To turn it hot in light ryme. 
Thai faid if I in ftrange it turne 
To here it manyon would fkurne ""y 
For it are names fulle felcouthe ^ 
That ere not ufcd now in mouth. — 
In the hous of Sixille I was a throwe ' 
Danz Robert of Meltone, " that ye knowe, 
Did it wryte for felawes fake, 
When thai wild folace make ^ 

Erceldoune and Kendale are mentioned, in fome of thefe 
lines of Brunne, as old romances or popular tales. Of the 
latter I can difcover no traces in our antient literature. As 
to the former, Thomas Erceldoun, or Aflielington, is faid to 
have written Prophecies, like thofe of Merlin. Leland, from 
the Scalt^ Chroiiicon \ fays, that " William Banaftre '^, and 

■^ Many a one. 

" Scorn, y Strange. ^ A little wKi'le. 

^ *' Sir Robert of Malton." It appears 
from hence that he was born at Malton in 

" Pref. Rob. Glouc. p. ^7. 58. 

^ An antient French hiftory or chroni- 
cle of England never printed, which Le- 
land fays was tranflated out of French 
rhyme into French profe. Col. vol. i. P. ii. 
pag. 59. edit. 1770. It was probably 
written or reduced by Thomas Gray into 
profe. Londinenf Antiquitat. Cant. lib. i. 
p. 38. Others affirm it to have been the 

"Work of John Gray, an eminent church- 
man, about the year 121Z. It begins, in 
the ufuai form, \At\i the creation of the 
world, pa'Tes on to Erutus, and doles with 
Edward the third. 

''• One Gilbert Baneftre v/as a poet and 
mufician. The Prop.ufies of Acnifier of 
England are not uncommon among manu- 
fcripts. In the Scotch Vrcphefies, printed 
at Edinburgh, 1680, ^«w/:i/?fr is mention- 
ed as the author of feme of them. " As 
" Berlington's books and Banejier tell us." 
p. 2. Again, " Beid hath brieved in his 
♦' book and Baneftcr alfo." p. iS. He 
L 2 foems 


'* Thomas Erceldoune, fpoke words yn figure as were the 
'' prophecies of Merlhi '." In the Ubrary o£ Lincohi cathe- 
dral, there is a metrical romance entitled, Thomas of Er- 
SELDOWN, which begins with the ufual addrefs, 

Lordynges both great and fmall. 

In the Bodleian library, among the theological works of 
John Lawern, mxonk of Worcefter, and ftudent in theology 
at Oxford, about the year 1448, written with his own 
hand, a fragment of an Engliih poem occurs, v/hich begins 
thus : ' . 

Joly chepert [fhepherd] of Aflceldowne '. 

In the Britifli Mufeum a manufcript Englifn poem occurs, 
with this French title prefixed, " La Counteffe de Dunbar, 
" demanda a Thomas EfTedoune quant la guere d'Efcoce 
" prendret fyn ^" This was probably our prophefier Tho- 
mas of Erceldown. One of his prediftions is mentioned in 
an antient Scots poem entitled, A New Yearns Gift, writ- 
ten in the year 1562, by Alexander Scott \ One Thomas 
Leirmouth, or Rymer, was alfo a prophetic bard, and lived 
at Erflingtoun, fometimes perhaps pronounced Erfeldoun. 

feems to be confounded with William Ba- ^ Ut fupr. p. 510. 

mfter, a writer of the reign of Edward the , j^sg_ g^^j^ ^ f^j^ 

third, Berlmgton is probably John Bnd- ' 

lington, an augufliine canon of Bridlington, s MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 127. It begins 
who wrote three books of Carmhin FcJici- thus, 
nalui, in which he pretends to foretell ma- 
ny accidents that iTiould happen to Eng- When man as mad a kingge of a capped 
knd. MSS. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 89. And man 

186. There are alfo Vcrjus Faticinales When mon is lever other monnes thynge 

under his name, MSS. Bodl. NE. E. ii. then ys owen. 
17. f. 21. He died, aged fixty, in 1379. 

He was canonifed. There are many other •> Ancient Scots poems. Edinb. 1770. 

Prophtia, which feem to have been i2mo. p. 194. See the ingenious editor's 

fafhionable at this time, bound up with notes, p. 312. 
Bridlington in MSS. Digb. 186. 




This is therefore piobably the fame perfon. One who per- 
fonates him, fays. 

In Erslingtoun I dwell at hame, 
Thomas Rymer men call me. 

He has left vatlcinal rhymes, in which he predicted the 
union of Scotland with England, about the year 1279 '. For- 
dun mentions feveral of his prophecies concerning the future 
flate of Scotland ". 

Our author, Robert de Brunne, alfo tranilated into Englifh 
rhymes the treatife of cardinal Bonaventura, his cotempo- 
rary', De ccena ct pajjioneTjomini et poetiis S.Marice Virginis^ with 
the following title. " Medytaciuns of the Soper of our Lorde 
" Jhefu, and alfo of hys PalTyun, and eke of the Peynes of' 
" hys fwete Modyr mayden Marye, the whyche made yn 
" Latyn Bonaventure Cardynail ™." But I forbear to give 
further extra(5ls from this writer, who appears to have pof- 
feifed much more induilry than genius, and cannot at pre- 
fent be read with much pleafure. Yet it fhould be remem- 
bered, thai; even fuch a writer as Pvobert de Brunne, uncouth 
and unpleafing as he naturally feems, and chiefly employed 
in turning the theology of his age into rhyme, contributed to 
form a llyle, to teach expreffion, and to polilh. his native 
tongue. In the infancy of language and compofition, no- 
thing is wanted but v/riters ; at that period even the moil 
artlefs have their ufe. 

* See Scotch P ophectes, nt fupr. p. 19- 
II. 13. i8. 36. viz. The Prophefy of Tho- 
mas Rymer. Pr. " Sdile on my waves as I 

'" went 


Lib. X. cap. 43. 44. I think he is alfo 
mentioned by Spotfwood. See Dempft. xi. 

' He died 1272. Many of Bonaven- 
ture's trafts were at this time tranflated 
into Englifii. In tlie Harleian manufcripts 
we have, " The Treatis that is kallid Prick- 

" y'-S^ °f Lon^e, made bi a Frere mehour 
" Bonaventure, that was Cardinal of the 
" courte of Rome." 2254. i. f. i. This 
book belonged to Dame Alys Brain twat, 
*' the worchypfuU prioras of Dartforde." 
This is not an uncommon manufcript. 

^- MSS. Harl. 1701. f. 84. The firli 
line is, 

Almighti god in trinite. 
It was never printed. 




Robert Grofthead, bifhop of Lincoln ", who died in 1253^ 
is faid in fome verfes of Robert de Brunne, quoted above, 
to have been fond of the metre and mufic of the minflrels. 
He was moft attached to the French minftreis, in whofe lan- 
guage he has left a poem, never printed, of fome length. 
This was probably tranflated into EngliHi rhyme about the 
-reign 6f Edward the firft. Nor is it quite improbable, if 
the tranilation was made at this period, that the tranflator 
was Robert de Brunne ; efpecially as he tranflated another of 
Grofthead's pieces. It is called by Leland Chateau i Amour ", 
But in one of the Bodleian manufcripts of this book we have 
the following title, Romance par Meftre Robert Grcjfetejie ^ 
in another it is called, Ce ejl la vie de D. Jhu de fa biimamte 
fet a or dine de Saint Robert Groffetejie ke fut eveque de Nichok '', 
And in this copy, a very curious apology to the clergy is 
prefixed to the poem, for the language in which it is writ- 
ten '. *' Et quamvis lingua romana [romance] coram cle- 
*' Ricis SAPOREM suAViTATis nou habeat, tamen pro laicis 
** qui minus intelligunt opufculum illudaptum eft '." This 
piece profefTes to treat of the creation, the redemption, the 
day of judgment, the joys of heaven, and the torments of 
hell : but the whole is a religious allegory, and under the 
ideas of chivalry the fundamental articles of chriftian belief 
are repl*efented. It has the air of a fyflem of divinity, written 

" See Diss. ii. — The autlior and tranfla- 
tor are often thus confounded in manu- 
fcripts. To an old Englifh religious poem 
on the holy Virgin, we find the following 
title. Incipit qutdam cantus quern compo- 
Juit frater Thomas Je Hales tie or d: tie fra~ 
tr-um minorumt &c. MSS. Col. Jcf. Oxon. 
85. fupr. citat. But this is the title of our 
friar's original, A Latin hymn de B. Ma- 
ria Virgin 2, improperly adopted in the 
tranflation. Thomas de Hales was a Fran- 
cifcan friar, a do6lor of the Sorbonne, and 
flourifhed about the year 1340. We fhall 
iee oth.r proofs of this. 

• Script. Brit. p. 285. 

P MSS. Bodl. NE. D. 6g. 

1 F. 16. Laud. fol. membran. The 
word Nicole is perfeftly French for Lincoln. 
See likewife MSS. Bodl. E. 4. 14. 

■■ In the hand-writing of the poem it- 
felf, which is very antient. 

• F. I . So alfo in MSS. C. C. C. Oxon. 
232. In MSS. Harl. 1 1 2 i. 5. " De Ro- 
*' berd Grofletefte le evefque de Nichole 
" en tretis en Franceis, del commence- 
*' ment du monde, &c." f. 156. Cod. 



by a troubadour. The poet, in defcribing the advent of 
^Chrifl, fuppofes that he entered into a magnificent caftle, 
which is the body of the immaculate virgin. The ftru6lure 
of this caftle is conceived with fome imagination, and drawn 
with the pencil of romance. The poem begins with thefe. 

Ki penfe ben, ben pent dire : 

Sanz penfer ne poet fuffife : 

De nul bon oure commencer 

Deu nos dont de li penfer 

De ki par ki, en ki, font 

Tos les biens ki font en el mondV 

But I haftento the tranflation, which is more immediately 
conne6led with our prefent fubje6l, and has this title. 
" Her bygenet a tretys that ys yclept Castel of Love that 
" bifcop Grofteyzt made ywis for lewde mennes by hove '," 
Then follows the prologue or introdu(5lion. 

That good thinketh good may do. 
And God wol help him thar to : 
Ffor nas never good work wrougt 
With oute biginninge of good thougt. 
Ne never was vv^rougt non vuel " thyng 
That vuel thougt nas the biginnyng. 
God ffuder, and fone and holigofte 
That alle thing on eorthe fixt "^ and wofl:. 
That one God art and thriilihod '', 
And threo perfones in one hod \ 
Withouten end and bi ginninge. 
To whom we ougten over alle thinge, 

f Bibl. Bbdl. MS. Vernon, f. 292. This « Well, good. "^ F. hext. highell. 

tranflation was never printed ; aud is, I * Trinity, >' Unity, 

believe, a rare manufcript. 


!o -THE H I S T O R Y O F 

Worfchepe him with trewe love, 

That kineworthe king art us above, 

In v^hom, of whom, thorw whom beoth, 

Alle the good fchipes that we hire i feoth. 

He leve us thenche and worchen fo, 

That he us fchylde from vre fo. 

All we habbeth to help neode 

That we ne beth all of one theode, 

Ne i boren in one londe, 

Ne one fpeche undirftonde, 

Ne mowe we al Latin wite ^ 

Ne Ebreu ne Gru " that beth I write, 

Ne Ffrcnch, ne this other fpechen, 

That me mihte in worlde fechen. 

To herie god our derworthi drihte °, 

As vch mon ougte with all his mihte; 

Loft fong fyngen to god zerne \ 

With fuch fpeche as he con lerne : 

Ne monnes mouth ne be i dut 

Ne his ledene ^ i hud, 

To ferven his god that him wrougte. 

And maade al the world of nougte. 

Of Englifche I fhal nir refun fchowen 

Ffor hem that can not i knowen, 

Nouther French ne Latyn 

On Englifch I chuUe tuiien him. 

Wherefor the world was i wroht, 

Ther after how he was bi tauht, 

2 Underlland. *< kyng Charles [the Bald], Johan Scott 

* Greek. In John Trevlfas's dialogue " tranflated Denys bookes out of Gru into 

concerning the tranflation of the Polychro- " Latyn." 

nicon, MSS. Harl. 1900^ b. f. 42. " Arif- ^ " To blefs god our beloved lord." 

" totile's bokes, &c. were tranflated out of ' Earneftly. 

*• Grue into Latin. Alfo with praying of ** Language. 



Adam vre fFader to ben his. 
With al the merthe of paradys 
To wonen and welden to fuch ende 
Til that he fcholde to hevcne wende. 
And hou fone he hit fu les 
And feththen hou for bouht wes, 
Thurw the heze kynges fone 
That here in eorthe wolde come, 
Ffor his fuftren that were to boren. 
And ffor a prifon thas was for lorea 
And hou he made as ze fchal heren 
That heo i cuft and fauht weren 
And to wruche a caflel he alihte, &c. 

But the following are the mod poetical paffages of this 

God nolde a lihte in none manere. 
But in feir ftude * and in clere, 
In feir and clene fiker hit wes, 
Ther god almihti his in ches * 
In a Castel well comeliche, 
Muche ^ and ffeire, and loveliche, 
That is the caftell of alle floure, 
Of folas and of focour, 
In the mere he ftont hi twene tv/o, 
Ne hath he forlak for no fo : 
For the tour '' is fo wel with outen. 
So depe i diched al abouten. 
That non kunnes afayling, 
Ne may him derven fer no thing ; 
He ftont on heiz rocke and found. 
And is y planed to the ground 

' Place. ^ " Chofe his habitation." s Great. 

^ La tur eft fi bien en dos. Fr. Orig. 

Vol. 1. M That 


That ther may won non vuel ' thing,, 

Ne derve ne gynnes caftyng ; 

And thaug be he fo lovliche. 

He is fo dredful and hatcliche. 

To all thnlke that ben his fon. 

That heo flen him everichon ; 

Ffor fmal toures that beth abouten^ 

To witen the heige toure withouten, 

Sethe ^ beoth thre bayles withalle ', 

So feir i diht with flrunge walle. 

As heo beth here after I write, 

Ne may no man the " feirfchipe I wite, 

Ne may no tongue ne may hit telle, 

Ne thougt thincke, ne mouthe fpelle : 

On trufti rocke heo ftondeth fail, 

And vv^ith depe diches bethe hi caft. 

And the carnels " fo flondeth upright, 

Wei 1 planed, and feir i dight : 

Seven barbicanes ther beth i wrouht 

With gret ginne al bi thouht °, 

And evrichon hath gat and toure, 

Ther never fayleth ne focoure. 

Never fchal fo him flonde with 

That thider wold flen to fechen grith ^ 

This cartel is fiker fair abouten. 

And is al depeynted withouten. 

With threo heowes that wel beth fene ^ ; 

So is the foundement al grene, 

i Vile. " Pur bon engin fait. Fr. Oi-ig, 

^ Tres bailes en tour. Fr. Ori g^ f Counfel. 

' Moreover there are three, &c. 

"^ Beauty. "J La chaftel eft a bel bon 

° Kernels. — Kerneaus bien poli. Fr. De hors de peint a en virun 

Orig. De treis culurs diverfement. Fr. Orts^. 




That to the rock fafl lith. 

\Vel is that ther murthe i fith, 

Ffor the grenefchip lafleth evere. 

And his heuh ne leofeth nevere, 

Sethen abouten that other heug 

So is ynde fo ys blu \ 

That the midel heug we clepeth ariht 

And fchyneth fo faire and fo briht. 

The thridde heug an ovemaft 

Over wrigeth al and fo ys i cafl. 

That withinnen and withouten. 

The caftel lihteth al abouten, 

And is raddore than eny rofe fchal 

That fliunneth as hit barnd ' were '. 

Withinne the caftel is whit fchinynge 

So " the fnows that is fnewynge, 

And cafteth that liht fo wyde, 

After long the tour and be fyde. 

That never cometh ther wo ne woug. 

As fwetnelTe ther is ever i noug. 

Amydde '' the heige toure is fpringynge 

A well that ever is eorninge " 

With four ftreraes that ftriketh v/el. 

And erneth upon the gravel, 

And fulleth the duches about' the wal, 

Much bliffe ther is over al, 

Ne dar he feeke non other leche 

That mai riht of this water eleche. 

' Si eft ynde fi eft blu. Fr. Orig, ^ In mi la tur plus hauteine 

' Burned, on fire. Eft furdant une funtayne 

Dunt iftent quater ruifTell 
' Plus eft vermail ke neft rofe Ki bruinet par le gravel, &c. F. Orig. 

E piert un ardant chofe. Fr. Orig. 
"As X Running, 

M 2 In 


In thulke ^ derworthi faire toure 

Ther ftont a trone with much honour, 

Of whit yvori and feirore of Uht 

Than the fomeres day when heis briht, 

With cumpas i throwen aud with gin al i do 

Seven fteppes ther beoth therto, 5cc, 

The fFoure fmale toures abouten, 

That with the heige toure withouten, 

Ffour had thewes that about hire i feoth, 

Ffoure vertus cardinals beoth, &c. 

And ^ which beoth threo bayles get, 

That with the carnels ben fo wel i fet, 

And i caft with cumpas and walled abouten 

That wileth the heihe tour with outen : 

Bote the inmofl bayle i wote 

Bitokeneth hire holi maydenhode, &c. 

The middle bayle that wite ge, 

Bitokeneth hire holi chaflite 

And fethen the overmafl bayle 

Bitokeneth hire holi fpofaile, &c. 

The feven kernels abouten. 

That with greot gin beon y wrougt withouten. 

And witeth this caftel fo well. 

With arwe and with quarrel % 

That beoth the feven vertues with wunne 

To overcum the feven deadly fnine, &c. ^ 

^ En cele bel tur a bonCj » Les barbicanes feet 

A de yvoire un trone Kis hors de bailies funt fait, 

Ke plufa eiffi blanchor Ki bien gardent le challel, 

Ci en mi efte la beau jur E de feete e de quarrel. Fr, Orig, 
Per engin eft compafTez, &c. Fr. Orig. 

^ Afterwards the fountain is explained 

■■' Les treis bailies du cKaftel to be God's grace : Charity is conilable of 

Ki funt overt au kernel the caftle, &c. &c. 

Qui a coin pas funt en virun 

E diifc-ndent le dungun. Fr. Orig^ 




It was undoubtedly a great impediment to the cultivation 
and progrefiive improvement of the Englifh language at 
thefe early periods, that the beft authors chole to write in 
French. Many of Robert Grofthead's pieces are indeed in 
Latin J yet where the fubjecl is popular, and not imme- 
diately addreifed to learned readers, he adopted the Romance 
or French language, in preference to his native Englilh, 
Of this, as we have already feen, his Manuel Peche, and his 
Chateau d'Amour, are fufficient proofs, both in profe and 
verfe: and his example and authority muil have had confi- 
derable influence in encouraging this pra6tice. Peter Lang- 
toft^ our Auguftine canon of Bridlington, not only compiled 
the large chronicle of England, above recited, in French ; 
but even tranflated Herbert Bofcam's Latin Life of Thomas 
of Beckett into French rhymes \ John Hoveden, a native 
of London, doftor of divinity, and chaplain to queen Elea- 
nor mother of Edward the firft, wrote in French rhymes a 
book entitled, Rcfariiwi de Nativitate^ Fajjionc^ Afcenjtofie, Jhejk 
Chrlfii ^ Various other proofs have before occurred. Lord 
Lyttelton quotes from the Lambeth library a manufcript 
poem in French or Norman verfe on the fubje6t. of king Der- 
mod's expulfion from Ireland, and the recovery of his king- 
dom. '. I could mention many others. Anonymous French 

^ Pitf. p. 890. Append. Who with great 
probability fuppofes him to have been an 

" MSS. Bibl. C. C. C. Cant. G. 16. 
where it is alfo called the Nightingale. Pr. 
" Alme fefle lit de pereiTe." Our author, 
John Hovedea, was alfo fkllled in facred 
mufic, and a great writer of Latin hymns. 
He died, and was buried, at Hoveden, 
1275. Pitf. p. 356. Bale, V. -jg. 

There is an old French metrical life of 
Tobiah, which the author, moft probably 
an Englifhrnan, fays he undertook at the re- 
queft of William, Prior of Kenilworth in 
Warwickfcire. MSS. Jef. Coll. O.xon, 85. 
iupr. citat. 

Le prior Gwilleyme me prie 
De J'eglyfe feynte Marie 

De Kenelworth an Ardenne, 
Ki porte le plus haute peyne 
De charite, ke nul eglyfe 
Del resume a devyfe 
Ke jeo liz en romaunz le vie 
De kelui ki ont nun Tobie, &c. 

^ Hift. Hen. ii. vol. iv. p. 270. Notes. 
It v/as tranflated into profe by Sir George 
Carew in Q^Ellfabeth's time : this tranila- 
tion was printed by Harris in his Hiber-. 
NiA. It was probably written about 1 1,90,. 
See Ware, p. 56. And compare Walpole's 
Anecd, Paint, i. 28. Notes. The Lambeth 
manufcript feems to be but a fragment. 
viz. MSS. Bibl, Lamb. Hib, A. See fupr. 
p. 70. 




pieces, both in profe and verfe, and written about this time, 
are innumerable in our manufcript repofitories *". Yet this 
fafiiion proceeded rather from necellity and a principle of 
convenience, than from affectation. The vernacular EngliOi, 
as I have before remarked, was rough and unpoliflied : and al- 
th'ough thefe writers pofleiled but few ideas of tafte and ele- 
gance, they embraced a foreign tongue, aimofl equally familiar, 
and in which they could convey their fentiments with greater 
eafe, grace, and propriety. It fiiould alfo be confidered, that 
our moft eminent fchoiars received a part of their education 
at the univerfity of Paris. Another, and a very material cir- 
cumftance, concurred to countenance this faihionable practice 
of compofing in French. It procured them readers of rank 
and diftiriclion. The EnniUfh court, for more than two hun- 
dred years after the conquer!:, was totally French : and our 
kings, either from birth, kindred, or marriage, and from a per- 
petual intercourfe, feem to have been more clofely connefted 
with France than with England. It was however fortunate 
that thefe French pieces were written, as fome of them met 

' I ha\'e before hinted that it was fome- 
times callomary to intermix Latin with 
French. As thus. MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 
137. b. 

Dieu roy de MageJle, 

Ob pcrjo.'ias trinc.s, 
Noftre roy e fa meyne 

Nc perire Jiiias, &C. 

Again, ibid. f. 76. Where a lover, an 
Englilhiman, addreffes his niiitrcfs who was 
of Paris. 

Di/m ludis floribus 'velut lacinia, 

Le dieu d'amour moi tient en tiel An- 

gujiia, &c. 

Sometimes their poetry was half French 
and half Englifli. As in a fong to the holy 
virgin on our Saviour's pafiion. Ibid. f. 83. 

Maydcn moder niilde, oyez eel oreyfoun, 
From (home thou me ihilde, e de \)- mal 
feloun ; 

For lov^e of thine childe me menez de 

Ich wes wod and wilde, ore fu en prifoun, 


In the fame manufcript I find a French poer... 
probably v/ritten by an Englifhman, and 
in the year 1300, containing the adven- 
tures of Gilote and Johanne, two ladies of 
gallantry, in various parts of England and 
Ireland ;' particularly at V/inchefter and 
Pontefrad. f. 66. b. The curious reader 
is alfo referred to a French poem, in which 
the poet fuppofes that a minftrel, jngkour, 
travelling from London, cloathcd in a rich 
tabard, met the king and his retinue. The 
king afks him many queftions ; particularly 
his lord's name, and the price of his horfe. 
The minftrel evades all the king's queftions 
by impertinent anfwers ; and at laft pre- 
fumes to give his majefty advice. Ibid. f. 
107. b. 




witli their tranflators : who perhaps unable to afpire to the 
praife of original writers, at leafl by this means contributed 
to adorn their native tongue : and who very probably would 
not have written at all, had not original writers, I mean 
their cotemporaries who wrote in French, furniflied them 
with models and materials. 

Hearne, to whofe diligence even the poetical antiquarian is- 
much obliged, but whofe conjeftures are generally wrongs, 
imagines, that the old Englilh metrical romance, called Ry- 
CHARDE cuER DE LYON, was Written by Robert de Brunne. 
It was at leafl probable, that the leifure of monaftic life pro- 
duced many rhymers. From proofs here given vvq may fairly 
conclude, that the monks often wrote for the minftrels : and 
although our Gilbertine brother of Brunne chofe to relate 
true ftories in plain language, yet it is reafonable to fuppofe, 
that many of our antient talcs in verfe containing fi6litious 
adv^entures, were written, although not invented, in the reli- 
gious houfes. The romantic hiftory of Gi^y earl of Warwick, 
is expreilly faid, on good authority, to have been written by 
Walter of Exeter, a Francifcan Friar of Carocus in Cornwall, 
about the year 1292 ^ The libraries of the monaileries were 
full of romances. Bevis of Southampton., in French, was in the 

s Carcw's Surv. Cornvv. p. 59. edit. 
ut fupr. I fuppofe Carew means the metri- 
cal Romance of Guy. But Bale fays that 
Walter wrote Vitam Guidonis, which feems 
toimplyaprofehiftory. x./S.GiraldusCam- 
brenfis alfo wrote Guy's hiilory. Hearne has 
printed an Hifioria Guidonis de tVarixiik, 
Append, ad Annal Dunilaple, num. xi. 
It was extrafted from Gerald. Camhrenf. 
hifl. Reg. Well-Sax. capit. xi. by Girar- 
dus Cornubienfis. Lydgate's life of Guy, 
never printed, is tranfiated from tliis Girar- 
dus; as Lvdgate himfelf informs us at the 
end. MSS.'Bbl. Bodl. Laud. D. 31. f. 64. 
Tit. Hers gynntth the h^' of Guy of iVur-xvyk . 

Out of the Latyn made by the Chronycler 
Called of old Girard Corn itb yen ce : 
Which wrote the dedis, with grete dili- 
Of them that were in Wellfe:i crowned 
kynges, &c. 

See Wharton, Angl. Sacr. i. p. 89. Some 
have thought, that Girardus Cornubienfis 
and Giraldjs Cambrenfis were the fame 
perfons. This palTage of Lydgate m.ay 
perhaps (hew the contrary. \Ve have alfo 
in the fame Bodleian manufcrlpt, a poem 
on Guy and Colbrand, viz. MSS. Laud. D. 
31. f. S7. More will be faid on this fabjed^ 




library of the abbey of Leicefter \ In that of the abbey of 
Glaftonbury, we find Liber deExcidio T'rojce^ Gejia Ricardi Regis, 
and GeJia Alextmdri Regis, in the year 1247 '. Thefe were fome 
of the moft favorite fubjefts of romance, as I Ihall fliew here- 
after. In a catalogue of the hbrary of the abbey of Peterborough 
are recited, Amys and Amelion ^, Sir T^riftram, Guy de Burgoyne^ 
and GeJia OJiielis \ all in French : together with Merlins Pro- 
pheciesy Turpins Charlemagne, and the DeftriiBion of Troy "'. 
Among the books given to Wincheiler college by the foun- 
der William of Wykeham, a prelate of high rank, about 
the year 1387, we \\2i^t Chronicon Troja"". In the library of 
Windfor college, in the reign of Henry the eighth, were 
difcovered in the midft of miflals, pfalters, and homilies. 
Duo lihri Gallici de Roma?ices, de qui bus uniis liber de Rose, et 
alius dijicilis materice\ This is the language of the king's 
commiflioners, who fearched the archives of the college : 
the firft of thefe two French romances is perhaps John de 
Meun's Roman de la Rofe. A friar, in Pierce Plowman's Vi- 
lions, is faid to be much better acquainted with the Rimes of 

^ See Regijlrum Librorum omnium et yo- 
calium in mrnajlerio S. Maria de Prat is 
prope Lejcejlriam. fol. 132. b. In MSS. 
Bibl. Bodl. Laud. I. 75. This catalogue 
was written by Will. Charite one of the 
monks, A. D. 1517. fol. 139. 

' Hearne's Joann. Glafton. Catal. Bibl. 
Glafton. p. 435- One of the books on Troy 
is called bonus et magnus. There is alfo 
*' Liber de Captione Antiochiae, Gallice. 
" legibilisr ibid. 

^ The fame Romance is in MSS. Harl. 
Brit. Muf. 2386. §. 42. See Du Gang. 
GlolT. Lat. i. Ind. Au£lor. p. 193. There 
is an old manufcript French Morality 
on this fubjeft, Comment Aniille tue fcs deux 
enfans pour guenr Amis J in compagnon, &c. 
Beauchamps, Rech. Theatr. Fr. p. 109. 
There is a French metrical romance H'f- 
toire d'Jmvs et jimiUoHy Brit. Muf. MSS. 
Keg. 12. C. xii. 9. 

' There is a Romance called Otuel, 
MSS. Bibl. Adv. Edingb. W. 4. i. xxviii. 
I think he is mentioned in Charlemagne's 
ftory. He is converted to chriftianity, and 
marries Charlemagne's daughter. 

'" Gunton's Peterb. p. 108. feq. — I will 
give fome of the titles as they Hand in the 
catalogue. Dares Pbrygius de Excidio Tro- 
ja, bis. p. 180. Prop bet irt Merlini 'verji- 
fice. p. 182. GeJia Caroli fecundum Tur- 
pinu?n. p. 187. GeJIa jEnea poji dejlruc- 
tionchi'ircjo'.'^, \^%. Bellum contra Run- 
ci-uallum. p. 202. There are alfo the two 
following articles, viz. *' Certamen inter 
" regem Johannem et Barones, verfifice. 
«' Per H. de Davenech." p. 188. This I 
have never fecn, nor know any thing of the 
author. •* Verfus de ludo fcaccorum." 
p. 195. 

" Ex archivis Coll. Wint. 

" Dudg.Mon.iii.Ecclef.ColIegiat.p.80. 




Robin Hood, and Randal of Chefter, than with his Pater-nofter ^ 
The monks, wlio very naturaily fought all opportunities of 
amufement in their retired and confined fituations, were 
fond of admitting the minflrels to their feftivals ; and were 
hence familiarifed to romantic flories. Seventy fhillings were 
expended on minftrels, who accompanied their fongs with the 
harp, at the feafl of the inftallation of Ralph abbot of Saint 
Auguflin's at Canterbury, in the year 1309. At this mag- 
nificent folemnity, fix thoufand guefts were prefent in and 
about the hall of the abbey '^. It was not deemed an occur- 
rence unworthy to be recorded, that when Adam de Orleton, 
bifhop of Winchefler, vifited his cathedral priory of Saint 
Swithin in that city, a minftrel named Herbert was intro- 
duced, who fung the So?ig of Colbrond a Danifh giant, and 
the tale of ^een Etnma deli'veredfrom the plough-fares y in the 
hall of the prior Alexander de Herriard, in the year 1338. I 
will give this very curious article, as it appears in an an- 
tient regiller of the priory. " Et cantabat Joculator qiiidam 
* ' nomine Herebertus canticum Colbrondi, ?iecnon Geftum Emme 
" regine a judicio ignis liberate, in aula priori s' y In an an- 
nual accompt-roU of the Augufline priory of Bicefter in 
Oxfordfhire, for the year 143 i, the following entries relating 
to this fubje6l occur, which I chufe to exhibit in the words 
of the original. *' Dona Prioris. Et in datis cuidam cithari- 
" zatori in die fanSli feronimi^ viii. d. — Et in datis alteri ci- 

P Fol. xxvl. b. edit. 1550. 

■5 Dec. Script, p. 2011. 

"■ Regiftr. Priorat. S. Swithini Winton. 
MSS. pergamen. in Archiv. de Wolvefey 
Wint. Thefe were local flories. Guy 
fought and conquered Colbrond a Danifh 
champion, juft without the northern walls 
of the city of VVincheiler, in a meadow to 
this day called Danemarch : and Colbrond's 
battle-ax was kept in the treafury of S. 
Swithin's priory till the difTolution. Th. 
Rudb. apud Wharton, Angl. Sacr. i. 211. 
This hiftory remained in. rude painting 

Vol. I. 

againft the walls of the north tranfept of 
the cathedral till within my memory. 
Queen Emma was a patronefs of this 
church, in which fhe underwent the trial 
of walking blindfold over nine red hot 
ploughfhares. Colbrond is mentioned in 
the old romance of the Squyr of Lovje 
Degree. Signat. a. iii. 

Or els fo doughty of my honde 
As was the gyaunte fyr Colbronde. 

See what is faid above of Guy earl of War- 
wick, who will again be mentioned. 




tharizatori inffejio Apojlolorum Si moms et Jude cognomine Hendy, 
xii. d. — Et in datis ciiidam minjirallo domini le T^albot ififra 
natale domini^ xii. d. — ILt in datis minifcrallis domini le 
Straunge i?i die Epiphaniey xx. d. — -Et in datis duobus mi- 
nifirallis domini Loijell in crajiino S. Marci evangelijie^ xvi. d. 
— Et in datis minifirallis diicis Glocejirie in ffejlo nativitatis 
beate Marte, iiis. iv d." I mud add, as it likewife paints 
the manners of the monks, " Et in datis cuidam Urfario, 
" iiii d. '" In the prior's accounts of the Auguftine canons 
of Maxtoke in Warwickfhire, of various years in the reign 
of Henry the fixth, one of the ftyles, or general heads, is 
De JocuLATORiBus ET MiMis. I will, without apology, 
produce fome of the particular articles ; not diftinguifliing 
between Mi mi, yocidatcres, yocatores, Liifores, and Ciiharijice: 
who all feem alternately, and at different times, to have 
exercifed the fame arts of popular entertainment. " Jocu- 
latori in feptimana S. Michaelis, ivd. — Citharijle tempore, na- 
talis domini et aliis jocatoribus, ivd. — Mimis de Solihull, vid. 
— Mimis de Coventry, xxd. — Mimo domini Ferrers, vid. — 
Luforibiis de Eton, viiid. — Luforibus de Coventry, viiid. — 
hiiforibus de Davefitry, xii'd. — Mimis de Coventry, xiid. — • 
lAimis domini de Ajieley, xiid. — Item iiii. mimis domini de 
Warewych, xd. — Mimo ceco, iid. — Sex mimis domini de 
Clynton. — Duobus mimis de Rugeby, x d. — Cuidam citharijle, 
vid. — Mimis domini de AJleley- xxd. — Cuidam citharijle, 
vid. — Citharijle de Co^oentry, vid. — Duobus citharijlis de 
Coventry, viiid. — Mimis de Rugeby, viiid. — Mimis domini 
de Biickeridge, xxd. — Mimis domini de Stafford, ii s. — Eu- 
Jhribus de Colcjlnlle, viii d. '" Here we may obferve, that 

' Ex. Orlg. in Rotul. pergamen. Tit. *' Henrici pra:di£li nono." In Thefauriar- 

Compotus dni Ricardi Parentyn Prions, Coll. SS. Trin. Oxon. Bifhop Kennet has 

et fratris Ric. Albon canonici, burfarii printed a Computus of the fame monaltery 

ibidem, de omnibus bonis per eofdem under the fame reign, in which three or four 

receptis et libcratis a craflino Michaelis entries of the fame fort occur. Paroch. 

anno Henrici S:xti poll conqueltum oc- Antiq. p. 578. 

tavo ufjue in iutm crafiinum anao R. ' Ex. orj^. penes me. 






the minftrels of the nobility, in whofe families they were 
conflantly retained, travelled about the county to the neigh- 
bouring monafteries ; and that they generally received better 
gratuities for thefe occafional performances than the others. 
Solihull, Rugby, Colefliill, Eton, or Nun-Eton, and Co- 
ventry, are all towns fituated at no great diftance from the 
priory ". Nor muft I omit that two minftrels from Coven- 
try made part of the feflivity at the confecration of John, 
prior of this convent, in the year 1432, viz, " Dat. duobus 
** mimis de Coventry in die confecrationis prions^ xiid. *" Nor is 

" In the antient annual rolls of accompt 
of Winchefler college, there are many ar- 
ticles of this fort. The few following, ex- 
trafted from a great number, may ferve as 
a fpecimen. They are chiefly in the reign 
of Edward iv. viz. In the year 148 1. 
** Et in fol. miniftrallis dom. Regis venien- 
" tibus ad collegium xv. die Aprilis, cum 
" \2d. folut, miniftrallis dom. Epifcopi 
" Wynton venientibus ad collegium prime 
■*• die Junii iiiii. \\\\d. — Et in dat. minif- 
** trallis dom. Arundell ven. ad Coll. cum 
*' viii^. dat. miniftrallis dom. de Lawarr, 

"*' \\s. iiii^." In the year 1483. "Sol. 

** miniftrallis dom. Regis ven. ad Coll. 

*' 'ins. iiii^." In the year 1472. " Et 

*' in dat. miniftrallis dom. Regis cum v'xnd. 
** dat. duobus Berewardis duels Clarentie, 
'* XX4'. — Et in dat. Johanni Stulto quon- 
** dam dom. de Warewyco, cum 'inxd. dat. 
** Thome Nevyle taborario. — Et in datis 
" duobus miniftrallis ducis Gloceftrie, 
*' cum iiii^. dat. uni miniftrallo duels de 

" Northumberlond, viiirf'. Et in datis 

*' duobus citharatoribus ad vices venient. 

" ad collegium viii^j'." In the year 

1479. " Et in datis fatrapls Wynton vc- 
" nientibus ad coll. fefto Epiphanie, cu.ti 
" xii^. dat. miniftrallis dom. epifcopi ve- 
" nient. ad coll. infra oftavas Epiphanie, 
" iii/." — In the year 1477. " Et in dat. 
" miniftrallis dom. Principis venient. ad 
" coll. fefto Afcenfionis Domini, cum xx</. 

" dat. miniilrallis dom. Regis, v/." 

In the year 1464. " Et in dat. minlf- 
" trallis comitis Kancie venient. ad Coll. 
'• in menfe Julii, iiii/. iiii*/." In the 

year 1 467. " Et in datis quatuor mimi« 
" dom. de Arundell venient. ad Coll. 
*• xiii. die ffebr. ex curialitate dom. Cuf- 

" todis, ii/." In the year 1466. " Et 

" in dat. fatrapfs, \u.t fupr."] cum lis. 
" dat. iiii. interluden tibus et J. Meke ci- 

" thariftaj codem fi^efto iiiij." In the 

year 1484. '• Et in dat. uni miniftrallo 
" dom. principis, et in aliis miniftrallis 
" ducis Gloceftrie v. die Julii, xxd." — • 
The minftrels of the biftiop, of lord Arun- 
del, and the duke of Gloucefter, occur very 
frequently. In domo muniment, coll. prs- 
di£l. in cifta ex orientali latere. 

In rolls of the reign of Henry the fixth, 
the countefs of Weftmorcland, fifter of car- 
dinal Beaufort, is mentioned as being en- 
tertained in the college ; and in her retinue 
were the minftrels of her houfliold, who 
received gratuities. Ex Rot. Comp. orig. 

In thefe rolls there is an entry, which 
feems to prove that the Luforcs were a fort 
of aftors in dumb ftiow or mafquerade. 
Rot. arm. 1467. " Dat luforibus de civi- 
" tate Winton venientibus ad collegium in 
" apparatu fuo menf. julii, vs. viii^." 
This is a large reward. I will add from 
the fame rolls, ann. 1479. " In dat Joh. 
" Pontiftjery et focio ludentibus in aula in 
** die circumcifionis, ii .r." 

"•'' Ibid. It np^:iears that the Coventry-men 
were in high repute for their performances 
of this fort. In the entertainment pre- 
fented to queen Elifabeth at Killingworth 
caftle, in the year 1575, The Coventry- 
men exhibited " their old ftoriall ftieaw." 
Laneham's Narraiive, &c. p. 32. Mln- 
N 2 ftreb 



it improbable, that fome of our greater monaileries kept 
minftrels of their own in regular pay. So early as the year 
1 1 80, in the reign of Henry the fecond, "Jeffrey the harper 
received a corrody, or annuity, from the Benedi6line abbey 
of Hide near Winchefter * J undoubtedly on condition that 
he jQiould ferve the monks in the profeffion of a harper on 
public occafions. The abbies of Conway and Stratdur in 
Wales refpe6lively maintained a bard ^ : and the V/elfii mo- 
nafteries in general were the grand repofitories of the poetry 
of the Britifh bards ^ 

In the flatutes of New-college at Oxford, given about the 
year 1380, the founder bifliop William of Wykeham orders 
his fcholars, for their recreation on feftival days in the hall 
after dinner and fupper, to entertain themfelves with fongs, 
and other diverfions confiflent with decency : and to recite 
poem.s, chronicles of kingdoms, the wonders of the world, 
together with the like compofitions, not mifbecoming the 
clerical chara6ler. I will tranfcribe his v/ords. " Quando 
ob dei reverentiam aut fue matris, vel alterius fan6li cujuf- 
cunque, tempore yemali, ignis in aula fociis miniftratur ; 
tunc fcolaribus et fociis poft tempus prandii aut cene, li- 
ceat gracia recreationis, in aula, in Cantilenis et aliis fo- 
laciis honeftis, moram facere condecentem ; et Poemata, 
regnorum Chronicas, et mundi hujus Mirabilia, ac cetera 







llrels were hired from Coventry to perform 
at Holy CroiTe feaft at Abingdon, Berks, 
1422. Hearne's Lib. Nig. Scacc. ii. p. 
598. See an account of their play on 
Corpus Chrifti day, in Stevens's Monaili- 
con, i. p, 238. And Hearne's Fordun, 
p. 1450. fub, an. 1492. 

" Madox, Hin. Exchequer, p. 251. 
Where he is ftyled, " Galfridus citharoe- 
" dus." 

y Powel's Cambria. T'o ihe Reader. 
pag. I. edit. 1581. 

^ Evans's DilT. dc Bardis. Specimens of 
Welfli poetry, p. 92. V/ood relates a 

ftory of two itinerant prielts coming, to- 
wards night, to a cell of Bencdiftines near 
Oxford, where, on a fuppofition of their 
being mimes or minftrels, they gained 
admittance. But the cellarer, facrill, and 
others of the brethren, hoping to have 
been entertained with their gejUailatoriis 
ludicri/quc art lb us, and finding them to be 
nothing more than two indigent ecclefiaftics 
■who could only adniinifter fpiritual confola- 
tion, and being confcqueiitly difappointed 
of their mirth, beat them and turned them 
out of the monaftery. Hlil. Antiq. Univ. 
Oxon. i. 67. Under the year 1224. 




*' que ftatum clericalem condecorant, feriofius pertra6lare \" 
The latter part of this injundliori feems to be an explication 
of the former : and on the whole it appears, that the Canti- 
lejice which the fcholars fliould fing on thefe occafions, were 
a fort of Poetnata, or poetical Chronicles, containing general 
hiftories of kingdoms \ It is natural to conclude, that they 
preferred pieces of Englifli hiftory : and among Hearne's 
manufcripts I have difcovered fome fragments on vellum % 
containing metrical chronicles of our kings ; which, from 
the nature of the compofition, feem'to have been ufed for 
this purpofe, and anfvver our idea of thefe general Chroiicce 
regmrum. Hearne fuppofed tliem to have been written 
about the time of Richard the firft ^ \ but I rather aflign 
them to the reign of Edward the firft, who died in the year 
1307. But the reader fliall judge. The following fragment 
begins abruptly with fome rich prefents which king Athel- 
ftan received from Charles the third, king of France : a nail 
which pierced our Saviour's feet on the crofs, a fpear with 
which Chaidemagne fought againft the Saracens, and which 
fome fuppofed to be the fpear which pierced our Saviour's 
fide, a part of the holy crofs enclofed in cryftal, three of the 
thorns from the crov^n on our Saviour's head, and a crown 
formed entirely of precious ftones, which were endued with 
a myftical power of reconciling enemies. 

Ther in was clofyd a nayle grete 
That v/ent thorv/ oure lordis fete. 

* Rubric, xviii. The flime thing is en- 
joined in the ftatates of Winchsfter uolbge, 
Ruhr. XV. I do not remember any fuch 
paffag2 in the ftatutcs of preceding colleges 
in either univeility. But this injunftioa is 
afterwards adopted in the ftatutes -of Mag- 
dalene college ; and from thence, if I recol- 
left right, was cotsied into thofe of Corpus 
Chrifti, Oxford. '' 

*> Hearne thus underftood the paflage. 

*' The wife founder of New college per- 
" mitted them [metrical chronicles] to be 
" fung by the fellows and fcholars upo& 
" extraordinary days." Heming. Cartul. ii. 
Append Numb. ix. § vi. p. 662. 

- Given to hi;n by Mr. Murray. See 
H' Chartul. ii. p. 654. And Rob. 
Glouc. ii. p. 731. Nunc. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. 
Oxon. Rawlins. Cod. 4.10. |E. Pr. 87.] 

^ Ubi fupr. 



Gyt' he prefentyd hym the fpere 

That Charles was wont to here 

Agens the Sarafyns in batayle j 

Many fwore and fayde faunfayle ', 

That with that fpere fmerte ^ 

Our lorde was flungen to the herte. 

And a party ^ of the holi crofTe 

In cryftal done in a cloos. 

And three of the thornes kene 

That was in Criftes hede fene. 

And a ryche crowne of golde 

Non rycher kyng wer y fcholde, 

Y made within and withowt 

With pretius ftonys alle a bowte. 

Of eche manir vertu thry * 

The ftonys hadde the mayftry 

To make frendes that evere were fone, 

Such a crowne was never none, 

To none erthelyche mon y wrogth 

Syth God made the world of nogth. 

Kyng Athelftune was glad and blythe, 

And thankud the kynge of Ffraunce fwythe 

Of gyfts nobul and ryche 

In cryftiante was no hym leche. 

In his tyme, I underftonde. 

Was Guy of Warwyk yn Inglonde, 

And fFor Englond dede batayle 

With a mygti gyande, without fayle j 

His name was bote Colbrond 

Gv/y hym flough with his bond. 

" Yet. Moreover. For faint Edmund had a /mer/e zerde, &c^ 

f Without doubt. Fr. ;. e. " He had a ftrong rod in his hand, &c.'' 

s Sharp, ftrong. So m the Li'vesof the 

Saints, MSS. fupr. citat. In the Life of S. ^ Part. Piece. 

Edmund. ' Three. 


Seven yere kyng Athelfton 

Held this his kyngdome 

In Inglond that ys fo mury, 

He dyedde and lythe at Malmelbury ". 

After hym regned his brother Edmond 

And v/as kyng of Ingelond, 

And he ne regned here, 

But unneth nine y^re, 

Sith hyt be falle at a fefle 

At Caunterbury ' a cas unwrefl "", 

As the kyng at the mete fat 

He behelde and under that 

Of a thcef that was defgyfe 

Amonge hys knyghtes god and wife; 

The kyng was hefty and fterte uppe 

And hent the thefe by the toppe " 

And caft hym doune on a fton : 

The theefe brayde out a knyfe a non 

And the kyng to the hert threfle. 

Or any of his knightes wefle ° : 

The baronys fterte up anone, 

And flough the theefe fwythe fone. 

But arft '' he wounded many one, 

Thrugh the fflefli and thrugh the bone : 


^ To which monaftery he gave the frag- 
ineiit of the holy crofs given him by the 
king of France. Rob. GIouc. p. 276. 

King Athelllon lovede much Malmefhury 

y wis. 
He gef of the holy crofs foni, that there 

gut ys. 

It is extraordinary, that Peter Langtoft 
Ihould not know where Athellian was bu- 
ried j and as lirange that his tranllatpr 

Rob. de Brunne fhould fupply this defeci 
by mentioning a report that his body was 
lately found at Hexliam in Northumber- 
land. Chron. p. 32. 

' Rob. of Gloucefter fays, that this hap- 
pened at Pucklechurch near Briftol. p. 277. 
But Rob. de Brunne at Canterbury, whi- 
ther the king went to hold the feaft of S. 
AulHn. p. 33. 

"• A wicked mifchance. 

" Head. ° Perceived - 

P Jreji. Fil-it. 



To Glaftenbury they bare the kynge, 

And ther made his buryinge ^ 

After that Edmund was ded, 

Reyned his brother Edred; 

Edred reyned here 

But unnethe thre yere, &c. 

After hym reyned feynt Edgare, 

A wyfe kynge and a warre : 

Thilke nyghte that he was bore, 

Seynt Dunftan was glad ther fore ; 

Ffor herde that fwete flevene 

Of the angels of hevene : 

In the fonge thei fonge bi ryme, 

" Y blefled be that ylke tyme 

" That Edgare y bore y was, 

*' Ffor in hys tyme fchal be pas, 

" Ever more in hys kyngdome '." 

The while he liveth and feynt Dunfton, 

Ther was fo meche grete foyfon '. 

Of all good in every tonne ; 

All wyle that lail: his lyve, 

Ne lored he never fyght ne ftryve. 

* * * 

The knyghtes of Wales, all and fome 
Han to fwery and othes holde. 
And trewe to be as y told, 
To bring trynge hym trewage ' yeare, 
CCC wolves eche zere ^ 

•5 At Gloucefter, fays Rob. de Brunne, the poffeffions of Glaftonbury abbey, p. 

p. 33. But Rob. of Gloucefter fays his 278. 

body was brought from Pucklcvhurch, and ^ This fdng is in Rob. Glouc. Chron. 

interred at Glaftonbuiy: and that hence p. 281. 

the town of Pucklechiirch became part of « Provifion. » Ready. 



And fo they dyde trewliche 

Three yere pleyneverlyche. 

The ferthe yere myght they fynde non 

So clene thay wer all a gon. 

* * * 

And the kyng hyt hem forgat 
For he nolde hem greve, 
Edgare was an holi man 
That oure lorde, &c. 

Although we have taken our leave of Robert de Brunne, 
yet as the fubjedl is remarkable, and affords a ftriking por- 
traiture of antient manners, I am tempted to tranfcribe that 
chronicler's defcription of the prefents received by king 
Athelftane from the king of France, efpecially as it contains 
fome new circumflances, and fupplies the defe6ls of our 
fragment. It is from his verfion of Peter Langtoft's chro- 
nicle abovementioned. 

At the fefte of oure lady the AlTumpcion, 

Went the king fro London to Abindon. 

Thider out of France, fro Charles kyng of fame. 

Com the of Boloyn, Adulphus was his name. 

And the duke of Burgoyn Edmonde fonne Reynere. 

The brouht kynge Athelfton prefent withouten pere: 

Fro Charles kyng lanz faile thei brouht a gonfay no un 

That faynt Morice in batayle before the legioun j 

And fcharp lance that thrilled Jhefu fyde ; 

And a fuerd of golde, in the hilte did men hyde 

Tuo of tho nayles that war thorh Jhefu fete ; 

Tached ^ on the croys, the blode thei out lete ; 

And fom of the thornes that don were on his heved. 

And a fair pece that of the croys leved % 

" Banner, ^ Tacked. Faftened. * Remained. 

Vol. I. O That 


That faynt Heleyn fonne at the batayle won 

Of the foudan of Afkalone his name was Madan. 

Than blewe the trumpets full loud and full fchille, 

The kyng com in to the halle that hardy was of wille : 

Than fpak Reyner Edmunde fonne, for he was meflengere, 

*' Athelflan, my lord the gretes, Charles that has no pere; 

" He fends the this prefent, and fais, he wille hym bynde 

" To the thorh ' Ilde thi fiftere, and tille alle thi kynde." 

Befor the meflengers was the maiden brouht. 

Of body fo gentill was non in erthe wrouht; 

No non fo faire of face, of fpech fo lufty, 

Scho granted befor tham all to Charles hir body: 

And fo did the kyng, and alle the baronage, 

Mikelle was the richefTe thei purveied in hir pafTage *. 

Another of thefe fragments, evidently of the fame com- 
pofition, feems to have been an introdu6lion to the whole. 
It begins with the martyrdom of faint Alban, and pafles on 
to the introduction of Waflail, and to the names and divifion 
of England. 

And now he ys alle fo hole y fonde. 

As whan he was y leyde on grounde. 

And gyf ge wille not '^ trow me, 

Goth to Weftmynftere, and ye mow fe. 

In that tyme Seynt Albon, 

For Goddys love ^ tholed martirdome, 

,And xl. yere with fchame and ' fchonde 

Was '' drowen oute of Englond. 

In that tyme ' wetcth welle. 

Cam ferft Wafiayle and Drynkehayl 

y " Thee through." magne is to this day fhcvvn among the re- 

^ Chron. p. 29. 30. Afterv/ards fol- lies of St. Dennis's in France. Caipeji- 

lows the combat cf Guy with ♦' a hogge tier, Suppl. GlofT. Lat. Du-cang. torn. ii. 

" [huge] gcant, hight Colibrant." As p. 994. edit. 1766. 

in our fragment, p. 31. See Will. Malmef. 'Believe. ^ Suffered. *= Confu^on. 

Gvfi. Angl. ii. 6. The lance of Cbark- '' Driven, drawn. "^ Know ye. 



In to this lond, with owte ^ wene, 
Thurghe a mayde ^ brygh and ** fchene. 
Sche was * cleput mayde Ynge. 
For hur many dothe rede and fyng^ 
Lordyngys "" gent and free. 
This lond hath y hadde namys thre. 
Fereft hit was cleput Albyon, 
And fyth ' for Brut Bretayne a non, 
And now Ynglond cleput hit ys, 
Aftir mayde Ynge y wyfle. 
ThilkeYnge fro Saxone was come, 
And with here many a moder fonne. 
For gret hungure y underflonde 
Ynge went oute of hure londe. 
And thorow leue of oure kyng 
In this land fche hadde reftyng. 
As meche lande of the kyng fche "" bade. 
As with a hole hyde " me mygth fprede. 
The kyng ^ graunt he bonne. 
A flrong caflel fche made fone. 
And whan the caftel was al made. 
The kyng to the mete fche ^ bade. 
The kyng graunted here a none. 
He wyft not what thay wold done. 

* * * 

And fayde to ' ham in this manere. 
The kyng to morow fchal ete here. 
He and alle hys men. 
Ever ' one of us and one of them. 

^ Doubt, s Bright, b Fair. > Called. o Granted her requeft. p Bid. 

^ Gentle. ' From, becaufe of. i Then. ^ Every. 

^ Requefted, defired, " Men might, 

O 2 ." To 





To geder fchal fitte at the mete. 

And when thay have al moft y ete, 

I wole fay wafTayle to the kyng, 

And fie hym with oute any ' leyng. 

And loke that ye in this manere 

Eche of gow fie his ' fere." 
And fo fche dede thenne, 
Slowe the kyng and alle hys men. 
And thus, thorowgh here " queyntyfe, 
This londe was wonne in this wyfe. 
Syth "^ a non fone an " fwythe 
Was Englond Meled on fyve. 
To fyve kynggys trewelyche, 
That were nobyl and fwythe ryche; 
That one hadde alle the londe of Kente, 
That ys free and fwythe gente. 
And in hys lond bysfhopus tweye. 
Worthy men where theye. 
The archebysfhop of Gaunturbery, 
And of RochefVore that ys mery. 
The kyng of Effex of " renon 
He hadde to his portion 
Weftfchire, Barkfchire, 
SoufTex, Southamptfhire. 
And ther to Dorfetfhyre, 
All Cornewalle and Devenfliire. 
All thys were of hys '' anpyre. 
The king hadde on his bond 
Five byclhopes flarke and ftrong, 
Of Saluibury was that on. 

As to tiie Mlrahilia Miindi, mentioned in the flatutes of 
New Colhge at Oxford, in conjun6lion with thefe Poemata 

' Lye. ' Companion. " Stratagem. * After. ^ Very. 

J JDivitkd. ^ Were. » Renown. '' Empire. 




and Regnorum ChroniccB^ the immigrations of the Arabians 
into Europe and the crufades produced numberlefs accounts, 
partly true and partly fabulous, of the wonders feen in the 
eaftern countries ; which falling into the hands of the 
monks, grew into various treatifes, under the title of Mira^ 
hilia Mundi. There were alfo fome profe fled travellers into 
the Eaft in the dark ages, who furprifed the weftern world 
with their marvellous narratives, which could they have 
been contradi6ted would have been believed '. At the court 
of the grand Khan, perfons of all nations and religions, 
if: they difcovered any diftinguiflied degree, of abilities, were - 
kindly entertained and often preferred. 

In. the Bodleian library we have a fuperb vellum manu- 
fcript, decorated with antient defcriptive paintings and illu- 
minations, entitled, Hijioire de Graunt Kaan et des Merveilles 
Du Monde ^ The fame work is among the royal manur- 
fcripts \ A Latin epiftle, faid to be tranflated from the 
Greek by Cornelius Nepos, is an extremely common manu.- - 
fcript, , entitled, De Jitu et Mirahilibus Indies ^ It . is . from 

^ The -firil: European traveller who went 
far Eaftward, is Benjamin a Jew of Tude- 
la in Navarre. He penetrated from Con- 
flantinople through Alexandria in .^Egypt 
and Perfia to the frontiers of Tzin, now 
China. His tra\els end in 1175. He 
mentions. the imraenfe wealth of Conftan- 
tinople ; and fays that its port fwarmed 
with fliips from all, countries. He exag- 
gerates in fpcaking of the prodigious num- 
ber of Jews in that city. He is full of 
marvellous, and romantic ftories. William 
de Rubruquis, a monk, was fent into Per- 
fic. Tartary, and by the command of S. 
Louis. king of France, ^^bout the year 1 245. 
As was alfo Carpini, by Pope Innocent 
the fourth. Their books. abound with im- 
probabilities. Marco Polo a Venetian no- 
bleman travelled eaftward into Syria and 
Pcrfia to the country conflantly called in 
the dark ages Cath.'.\'-, which proves to be 
the northern part of China. This was about 
-the yeai- 1260.. Plis; bock is.cndtk'd De 

Regio7!ibus Orientis. He mentions the im- 
menfe and opulent city of Cambalu, un- 
doubtedly Pekin. Hakluyt cites a friar, 
named Odcrick, who travelled to Cambalu 
in Cathay, and whofe defcriptlcn of that 
city correfponds exadly with Pekin. Friar 
Bacon about 1280, from thefc travels form- 
ed his geography of this part of the globe, 
as may be coliefted from whnt h^ relates of 
the Tartars. See Purchas Pilgr. iii. 52. 
And Eac. Op. Maj. 228. 235." 

■< MSS. Bodl. F. 10. fol. pra-grand: r.d 
calc. Cod. The hand-writing is about the 
reign of Edward the third. I am not fare 
Vrfhether it is not Mandeville's book. 

^ Brit. Muf. MSS. Bibl. Reg. .19 D, 

♦ It was f\\-^ printed ?% Jb.ccho Catala- 
renCi without date or place. Afterwards 
iX \''enice 1 499. The Epillle is infcribed : 
Alexander Magnus Arijlotrli prc-^aptori fuo 
Jalutan aicil.. It .was never extant in Greek. 

Alexander . 



Alexander the Great to his preceptor Atiftotle: and the 
Greek origuial was rrioft probably drawn from fome of the 
fabulous authors of Alexander's flory. 

There is a manufcript, containing La Chartre que Prejlre 
'Jehan maunda a Fredewik rEmpereur de Mervailles de sa 
Terre ^. This was Frederick BarbaroiTa, emperor of Ger- 
many, or his fucceflbr; both of whom were celebrated for 
their many fuccefsful enterprifes in the holy land, before the 
year 1230. Preiler John, a chriftian, was emperor of India. 
I find another tra6l, De Mirabilibus T'err^ San^a^. A 
book of Sir John Mandeville, a famous traveller into the 
Eaft about the year J 340, is under the title of Mirabilia 
Mundi '\ His Itinerary might indeed have the fame title ''. 
An Englifli title in the Cotton library is, " The Voiage and 
" Travailes of Sir John Maundevile knight, which treateth 
" of the way to Hierufaleme and of the Marveyles of 
" Inde with other ilands and countryes." In the Cotton 
library there is a piece with the title, Sa&orum Loca^ Mira- 
bilia Mundi, &c. ' Afterwards the wonders of other coun- 

5 Ibid. MSS. Reg. 20 A. xii. 3. And 
in Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Bodl. E. 4. 3. " Li- 
"" terae Joannis Prefbiteri ad Fredericum 
** Imperatorem, &c." 

^ MSS. Reg. 14 C. xiii. 3. 

iJVrSS. C. C.C. Cant. A. iv. 69. We 
find D^ Mirabilibus Mundi Liber, MSS, 
Reg. ut fupr. 13. E. ix. 5. And again, 
De Mirabilibus Mundi et Viris illujlribus 
Truilatu!, 1 4. C. vi. 3. 

'' His book is fuppofed to have been in- 
terpolated by the nienks. Leiand obferves, 
that Afia and Africa were parts of the world 
at this time. " Anglis de fola fere nomi- 
*' nis umbra cognitas." Script Br. p. 366. 
He wrote his Itinerary in French, Englifh, 
and Latin. It exttndi to Cathay, or China, 
before mentioned. Leiand fays, that he 
gave to Beckett's (hrine in Canterbury ca- 
thedral a glafs globe enclofing an apple, 
which he probably brought from the eaft. 

Leiand faw thii curiofity, in which tlte ap- 
ple remained frefii and undecayed. Ubi 
fupr. Maundeville, on returning from his 
travels, gave to the high altar of S. Alban's 
abbey church a fort of Patera brought from 
-£gypt, now in the hands of an ingenious 
antiquary in London. He was a native of 
the town of S. Alban's, and a phyfician. 
He fiys that he left many Mervayles 
unwritten ; and refers the curious reader to 
his Mappa Mundi, chap, cviii. cix. A 
hillory of the Tartars became popular in 
Europe about the year 1 3 10, written or dic- 
tated by Aiton a king of Armenia, who 
having traverfed the moft remarkable coun- 
tries of the eaft, turned monk at Cyprus, 
and publifhed his travels ; which, on ac- 
count of the rank of the author, and his 
amazing adventures, gained great efteem. 
' Galb. A, xxi. 3. 




tries were added: and when this fort of reading began to 
grow fafliionable, Gyraldus Cambrenfis compofed his book 
De MiRABiLiBus Hibernice ". There is alfo another De Mi- 
RABiLiBUs AngUce °. At length the fuperftitious curiofity of 
the times was gratified with compilations under the compre- 
henfive title of Mirabilia Hibernice^ AngUce^ et Oriejitalis '. 
But enough has been faid of thefe infatuations. Yet the 
hiftory of human credulity is a necefiary fpeculation to thofe 
who trace the gradations of human knowledge. Let me 
add, that a fpirit of rational enquiry into the topographical 
ftate of foreign countries, the parent of commerce and of a 
thoufand improvements, took its rife from thefe vifions. 

I clofe this fe^lion with an elegy .on the death of king 
Edward the firfl, who died in the year 1307. 


Alle that beoth of huert trewe ^ 
A ftounde herkneth to my fonge ', 

Of duel that Dethe has dihte us newe. 

That maketh me feke and forewe amonge :: 

Of a knyht that wes fo ftronge 
Of whom god hath done ys wille -, 

Methuncheth ' that Deth has don us wronge 

That he ' fo fone fliall ligge flille.. 

■" It is printed among the Scrlptores Hift. 
Ang], Francof. 1602. fol. 692. Written 
about the year i 200. It was fo favourite a 
title that we have even De Mir abi lib us 
Veteris et Nc-vi Tejiarmnti. MSS.-Coll. .^n. 
Naf. Oxon. Cod. 12. f. 190. a. 

" Bibl. Bodl. MS3. C. 6. 

° As in MSS. Reg. , 3 D. i. 1 1 . I mufl 
H.ot forget that the Poljhijhr of Julius So- 

linus appears iii many manufcripts under 
the title of Solinus de Mirabilibus Mundi. 
This was fo favourite a book, as to be 
tranflated into hexameters by fome monk- 
in the twelfth century, according to Voff* 
Hift Latin, iii. p. 721. 

P " Be of true heart." 

s A little while., 

' Methinks. * The king. 

II At: 



Al England alite * forte knowe : 

Of whom that fong ys that yfynge. 
Of Edward kynge that ys fo bolde, 

Gent " al this world is nome con fpringe: 
Treweft mon of al thinge, 

Ant in werre ware and wife .; 
For hym we ahte our honden ^ wrynge. 

Of crillendome he bare the pris. 


Byfore that oure kynge was ded 
* He fpeke as mon that was in care 
Clerkes, knyhts, barrons, he fed 

Ycharge ou * by oure fware ^. 
That ye be to Englonde trewe, 

Y deze "^ y ne may lyven na more ; 
Helpeth mi fone, ant crowneth him newe^ 
^' For he is * neft to buen y-core. 








Iche biqueth myn hirte aryht. 

That hit be write at mi devys, 
" Over the fea that Hue " be diht, 

With fourfcore knyghtes al of pris. 
In werre that buen war aut w^ys, 

Agein the hethene for te fyhte, . 
To Wynne the croize that lowe lys, 

Myfelf ycholde ^ef thet y myhte. 







Ought /cr to y Oath. 

" Through. Sax. gent. rent. ^ Deje. Deye, die. 

* Hands. " " Next, to be chofen." 

» Yoa. ^ One of his officers. 

"" V. Kyng 




Kyng of Fraunce ! thou hevedeft funne ", 

That thou the counfail woldefh fonde. 
To latte ^ the wille of kyng Edward, 

To wende to the holi londe ; 
Thet oure kynge hede take on honde. 

All Engelond to " zeme and wyfTe \ 
To wenden in to the holy londe 

To wynnen us heveriche ^ blifle. 


The mefiager to the pope com 

And feyede that our kynge was dede \ 
Ys * owne honde the lettre he nom ^ 

Ywis his herte wes ful gret : 
The pope himfelf the lettre redde^ 

And fpec a word of gret honour. 
" Alas ! he feid, is Edward ded ? 

*' Of criftendome he ber the flour !" 

* Sin, 

•* Let, hinder. 

* jeme, proteft. 
^ Govern. 

s Every. 

^ He died in Scotland, Jul. 7. 1307. 
The chroniclers pretend, that the Pope 
knew of his death the next day by a vifion 
or fome miraculous information. So Ro- 
bert of Brunne, who recommends this tra- 
gical event to thofe who " Singe and fay 
*' in romance and ryme." Chron. p. 340. 
edit, ut fupr. 

The Pope the tother day wift it in the court 
of Rome. 

The Pope on the morn bifor the clergi 

And told tham biforn, the floure of crif- 

Was ded and lay on bere, Edward of 

He faid with hevy chere, in fpirit he it 


He adds, that the Pope granted five years 
of pardon to thofe who would pray for his 

» In his. 
^ Took. 

Vol. I. 

VII. The 

io6 T H E H I S T O R Y OF 


The pope is to chaumbre wende 

For dole ne mihte he fpeke na more ; 
Ant aftur cardmales he fende 

That muche couthen of Criftes lore. 
Both the k-iTe ' ant eke the more 

Bed hem both red ant fynge : 
Gret deol me *" myhte fe thore ", 

Many mon is honde wrynge. 


The pope of Peyters ftod at is mafle 

With ful gret folempnete, 
Ther me con ° the foule blifTe : 

" Kyng Edward, honoured thou be : 
" God love thi fone come after the, 

" Bringe to ende that thou haft bygonne. 

The holy crois ymade of tre 

So fain thou woldeft hit have ywonne. 








Jerufalem, thou haft ilore 
" The floure of al chivalrie. 
Now kyng Edward liveth na more, ' 
" Alas, that he yet fhulde deye ! 
He wolde ha rered up ful heyge 
" Our baners that bueth broht to grounde : 
Wei longe we may clepe ^ and crie, 
Er we fuch a kyng have yfounde 1" 


^ Le/s. ^ There, " Men. <> Began. p Call. 

X. Now 



Now is Edward of Carnarvan % 

Kyng of Engelond al aplyht ' j 
God lete hem ner be worfe man 

Then his fader ne laffe of myht. 
To holden is pore man to ryht 

And underflende good counfail. 
All Englond for to wyfTe and dyht 

Of gode knightes darh ' hym nout fail, 


Thah mi tonge were mad of fiel 

Ant min herte yzote of bras 
The godnefs myht y never telle 

That with kyng Edward was. 
Kyng as thou art cleped c(3nquerour 

In vch battaile thou heedeft prys, 
Gode bringe thi foule to the honeur 

That ever was and ever ys \ 

That the pope fliould here pronounce the funeral pane- 
gyric of Edward the firft, is by no means furprifmg, if we 
confider the predominant ideas of the age. And in the true 
fpirit of thefe ideas, the poet makes this illuilrious monarch's 
atchievements in the holy land, his principal and leading 
topic. But there is a particular circumftance alluded to in 

1 Edward the fecond born in Carnarvon 

"" Completely. 

* Thar, there. 

' MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 73. In a Mif- 
cellany called the Mu/es Liirary, compiled, 
as I have been informed, by an ingenious 
lady of the name of Cooper, there is an 
elegy on _ the death of Henry the iirft, 
*' wrote immediately after his death, the 

** author unknown." p. 4. Lond. Pr. for 
T. Davies, 1738. oftavo. But this piece, 
which has great merit, could not have been 
written till fome centuries afterwards. From 
the clafiical allufions and general colour of 
the phrafeology, to fay nothing more, it 
with greater probability belongs to Henry 
the eighth. It efcaped me till juft before 
this work went to prefs, that Dr. Percy 
had printed this elegy, Ball. ii. 9. 

P 2 



thefe flanzas, relating to the crufading chara6ler of Edward> 
together with its confequences, which needs explanation. 
Edward, in the decline of life, had vowed a fecond expedi- 
tion to Jerufalem : but finding his end approach, in his laft 
moments he devoted the prodigious fum of thirty thoufand 
pounds to provide one hundred and forty knights ", who 
fhould carry his heart into Palefline. But this appointment 
of the dying king was never executed. Our elegiil, and the 
chroniclers, impute the crime of witholding fo pious a legacy 
to the advice of the king of France, whofe daughter Ifabel 
was married to the fucceeding king. But it is more probable 
to fuppofe, that Edward the fecond, and his profligate mi- 
nion Piers Gavefton, difTipated the money in their luxurious 
and expenfive pleafures. 

" The poet fays eighty. 




WE have feen, in the preceding fedlion, that the cha- 
ra6ler of our poetical compofition began to be 
changed about the reign of the firft Edward : that either 
fiftitious adventures were fubftituted by the minflrels in the 
place of hiflorical or traditionary fa6ls, or reaUty difguifed 
by the mifreprefentations of invention ; and that a tafte for 
ornamental and even exotic expreffion gradually prevailed 
over the rude fimplicity of the native Englifh phrafeology. 
This change, which with our language affected our poetry, 
had been growing for fome time ; and among other caufes 
was occafioned by the introdu6lion and increafe of the tales 
of chivalry. 

The ideas of chivalry, in an imperfefl degree, had been 
of old eftabliflied among the Gothic tribes. The fafhion of 
challenging to fnigle combat, the pride of feeking dangerous 
adventures, and the fpirit of avenging and prote6ting the 
fair fex, feem to have been peculiar to the northern nations 
in the moil uncultivated ftate of Europe. All thefe cuftoms 
were afterwards encouraged and confirmed by correfponding 
circumftances in the fevrdal conflitution. At length the 
crufades excited a new fpirit of enterprife, and introduced, 
into the courts and ceremonies of European princes a higher 
degree of fplendor and parade, caught from the riches and 
magnificence of eaflern cities \ Thefe oriental expeditions 

^ I cannot help tranfcribing here a cu- *' fon temps a s'embellir de baftimens plus 

'rlous pafTage from oil Fau;hett. He is " magnifiques: prendre plaifir a pierrieres, 

fpeaking of Louis tlie young, king of *' et autres delicatefles gouftus en Levant 

France, about the year 1150. *' Le quel *' par luy, ou les feigneurs qui avoientja 

'" fut le premier roy de fa rnaifon, qui " fait ce voyage. De forte qu'on peut 

•*' moniira dehors fes richelTes allanten Je- *' dire qu'il a efte le premier tenant Cour 

^ rufalem. Auifi la France commenga de " de grand Roy : eftant ii magnifique, que 



eftablifhed a tafte for hyperbolical delcription, and propagated 
an infinity of marvellous tales, which men returning from 
diflant countries eafily impofed on credulous and ignorant 
minds. The unparalleled emulation with which the nations 
of chriftendom univerfally embraced this holy caufe, the 
pride with which emperors, kings, barons, earls, biihops, 
and knights ftrove to excel each other on this interefting 
occafion, not only in prowefs and heroifm, but in fumptuous 
equipages, gorgeous banners, armorial cognifances, fplendid 
pavilions, and other expenfive articles of a fimilar nature, 
diffufed a love of war, and a fondnefs for military pomp. 
Hence their very diverfions became warlike, and the martial 
enthufiafm of the times appeared in tilts and tournaments. 
Thefe pra6lices and opinions co-operated with the kindred 
fuperftitions of dragons ^, dwarfs, fairies, giants, and en- 
chanters, which the traditions of the Gothic fcalders had 
already planted ; and produced that extraordinary fpecies of 
compofition which has been called Romance. 

Before thefe expeditions into the eaft became fafhionable, 
the principal and leading fubje6ls of the old fablers v/ere 
the atchievements of king Arthur with his knights of the 
round table, and of Charlemagne with his tweh^e peers. 
But in the romances written after the holy war, a new fet 
of champions, of conquefts, and of countries, were intro- 
duced. Trebizonde took place of Rouncevalles, and Godfrey 
of Bulloigne, Solyman, Nouraddin, the caliphs, the foul- 
dans, and the cities of i^gypt and Syria became the favou- 
rite topics. The troubadours of Provence, an idle and un- 
fettlcd race of men, took up arms, and followed their barons 

" fa femme dedaignant !a fimplicite de fes of French romances were compofed about 
" predeceffeurs, luy fit elever une fepulture this period. 

" d'argent, au lieu de pierre." Recueil ^ See Kircher's Mund. Subterran. viii. 

de la Lang, et Poef. Fr. ch. viii. p. 76. § 4. He mentions a knight of Rhodes 
edit. 1 58 1. He adds, that a great number made grand mailer of the order for killing 

a dragon, 1345. 




in prodigious multitudes to the conqueft of Jerufalem. They 
made a confiderable part of the houfhold of the nobiUty of 
France. Louis the feventh, king of France, not only en- 
tertained them at his court very liberally, but commandsd 
a confiderable quantity of them into his retinue, when he 
took fhip for Faleftine, that they might folace him with their 
fongs, during the dangers and inconveniencies of fo long a 
voyage ^ The antient chronicles of France mention Legions 
de poetes as embarking in this wonderful enterprife \ Here 
a new and more copious fcene of fabling was opened . in 
thefe expeditions they picked up numberlefs extravagant 
flories, and at their return enriched romance with an infinite 
variety of oriental fcenes and fi6lions. Thus thefe later 
wonders, in fome meafure, fupplanted the former : they 
had the recommendations of novelty, and gained ftill more 
attention, as they came from a greater diftance \ 

In the mean time we fliould recoileft, that the Saracens 
or Arabians, the fame people which were the objecl of the 
crufades, had acquired an eftablifhment in Spain about the 
ninth century : and that by means of this earlier intercourfe, 
many of their fi6lions and fables, together with their lite- 
latare, muft have been known in Europe before the chrif- 
tian armies invaded Afia. It is for this reafon the elder 
Spanifh romances have profeiTedly more Arabian allufions 
than any other. Cervantes makes .the imagined writer of 

<= Velley, Hifl.Pr. fub. an. 1 1.78. 

'' Maliieu, HiiL Poef. Fr. p. 105. Many 
of the troubadours, whofe works novvexift, 
and whofe names are recorded, accompa- 
nied their lords to the holy war. Some of 
the French nobility of the firit rank were 
troubadours about the eleventh century : 
and the French critics with much triumph 
obf.rve, that it is the glory of the French 
poetry to number counts and du'ces, that is 
jo'vereigns, among its profeffors, from its 
commencement. What a glory ! Thewor- 
ihipf.:l company of Merchant- taylors in 

London, if I recolleft right, boaft tlie 
names of many dukes, earls, and princes, 
enrolled in their community. This is in- 
deed an honour to that othcrwife refpeclable 
fociety. But poets can derive no luftre 
from counts, and dukes, or even princes, 
who have been enrolled in their lifts ; only 
in proportion as they have adorned the arc 
by the excellence of their compofitions. 

'^ The old French hillorian Mezeray 
goes fo far as to derive the origin of the 
French poetry and romances from the cru- 
faue.. Hiil p. 416. 417* 




Don Quixote's hiflory an Arabian. Yet exclufive of their 
domeftic and more immediate connexion with this eaftern 
people, the Spaniards from temper and conftitution were 
extravagantly fond of chivah'ous exercifes. Some critics 
have fuppofed, that Spain having learned the art or fafhion 
of romance-writing, from their naturalifed guefts the Ara- 
bians, communicated it, at an early period, to the reft of 
Europe ^ 

It has been imagined that the firft romances were com- 
pofed in metre, and fung to the harp by the poets of Pro- 
vence at feftival folemnities : but an ingenious Frenchman, 
who has made deep refearches into this fort of literature, 
attempts to prove, that this mode of reciting romantic ad- 
ventures was in high reputation among the natives of Nor- 
mandy, above a century before the troubadours of Provence, 
who are generally fuppofed to have led the way to the poets 
of Italy, Spain, and France, commenced about the year 1 162 ^ 
If the critic means to infmuate, that the French troubadours 
acquired their art of verfifying from thefe Norman bards^ 
this reafoning v^ill favour the fyftem of thofe, who contend 
that metrical romances lineally took their rife from the 
hiftorical odes of the Scandinavian fcalds : for the Normans 
were a branch of the Scandinavian ftock. But Fauchett, at 
the fame time that he allows the Normans to have been fond 
of chanting the praifes of their heroes in verfe, exprefsy 

' Huet in fome meafure adopts this opi- 
nion. But that learned man was a very in- 
competent judge of thefe matters. Under 
the common term Romance^ he confounds 
romances of chivalry, romances of gal- 
lantry, and all the fables of the Provencial 
poets. What can we think of a writer, 
who having touched upon the gothic ro- 
mances, at whofe fidlions and barbarifms he 
is much {hocked, talks of the con/ummate 
Jegree of art and elegance to ivhich the 
French are at pre/ent arrived in romances ? 
He adds, that the fuperior refinement and 

politefle of the French gallantry has happily 
given them an advantage of fhining in this 
fpeciesof compofition. Hill, Rom. p. 138. 
But the fophiilry and ignorance of Huet's 
Treatife has been already detected and ex- 
pofed by a critic of another caft, in the 
Supplement to Jarvis's Preface, 
prefixed to the TranJIation of Don fixate. 

s Monf. L' Eveque de la Ravalerie, in 

is Revolutions de Langue Francoife, a la 

•^ tie des Poesies du Roi de Navarre, 

h " Ce que les Normans avoyent pris des 
*' Francois." Rec. liv. i. p. 70. edit. 1581. 




pronounces that they borrowed this pra6lice from the Franks 
or French. 

It is not my bufinefs, nor is it of much confequence, tcr 
difcufs this obfcure point, which properly belongs to the 
French antiquaries. I therefore proceed to obferve, that our 
Richard the firft, who began his reign in the year 1189, a 
diftinguifhed hero of the crufades, a mofl magnificent 
patron of chivalry, and a Provencial poet ^, invited to his 
court many minftrels or troubadours from France, whom 
he loaded with honours and rewards ^ Thefe poets im- 
ported into England a great multitude of their tales and 
fongs ; which before or about the reign of Edward the fe- 
cond became familiar and popular among our anceftors, who 
were fufficiently acquainted with the French language. The 

^ See Obfervations on Spenfer, i. §. i. 
p. 28. 29. Aqd M?. ^^Ipole's Royal and 
Noble authors, i. 5. See alfo Rymer's 
Short Vie--w ef Tragedy, ch. vii. p. 73. 
edit. 1693. Savarie de Mauleon, an Eng- 
lifh gentleman who lived in the fervice of 
Saint Louis king of France, and on« of 
the Provencial poets, faid of Rich.^d, 

Coblai a tcira faire adroitement 

Pou voz oillez enten dompna gentiltz. 

** He could make ftanzas on the eyes of 
** gentle ladies." Rymer, ibid. p. 74. 
Thfere is a curious ftory recorded by the 
French chroniclers, concerning Richard'j 
flcill in the minflrel art, which I will here 
relate. — Richard, in his return from the 
crufade, was taka^ prifoner about the year 
1193. A whole year elapfcd" before the 
Englilh knew where their monarch was im- 
prifoned. Blondell de Mefle, Richard's 
favourite minftrel, refolved to find out his 
lord ; and after travelling many days with- 
out fuccefs, at laft came to a caflle where 
Richard was detained in cuftody. Here he 
found that the caftle belonged to the duke 
of Auftria, and that a king was there im- 
prifoned. Sufpedling that the prifoner was 
his mafter, he found means to pkice him- 

Vol. I. 

felf direftly before a window of the cham- 
ber where the king was kept ; and in this 
fituation began to fmg a French chanfon, 
which Richard and Blondell had forrnerly 
written together. When the king heard 
the fong, he knew it was Blondell who fung 
it ; and when Blondell paufed after the firil 
half of the fong, the king began the other 
half and completed it. On this, Blondell 
returned hOme to England, and acquainted 
Richard's barons with the place of lus im- 
prifopment, from which he was foon af- 
terwards reieafcd. See alfo Fauchett, Rec. 
p. 93. Richard lived long in Provence, 
where he acquired a tafte for their poetry. 
The only relic of his fonnets is a fmall 
fragment in old French, accurately cited by 
Mr. V/alpole, and written during his cap- 
tivity ; in which he remonftrates to his men 
and barons pf England, Normandy, Poic- 
tiers, and Gafcony, that they fufFered him 
to remain fo long a prifoner. Catal. Roy. 
and Nob. Auth. i. 5. NoJlradamus's account 
of Richard is full of falfe fadls and ana- 
chronifms. Poet. Provenc. artic. Richard. 
i " De regno Francorum cantores et jo-. 
** culatores muneribus allexerat." Rog. 
Hoved. Ric. I. p. 34.0. Thefe gratuities 
were chiefly a/ms, cloaths, horfes, and 
fometimes money. 



moll: early notice of a profefTed book of chivalry in England, 
as it fliould feem, appears under the reign of Henry the 
third ; and is a curious and evident proof of the reputation 
and efleem in which this fort of compofition was held at 
that period. In the revenue-roll of the twenty-firfl year of 
that king, there is an entry of the expence of filver clafps 
and ftuds for the king's great book of romances. This was 
in the year 1237. But I will give the article in its original 
drefs. " Et in firmaculis hapfis et clavis argenteis ad mag- 
" num librum Romancis regis ''." That this fuperb volume 
was in French, may be partly colle6led from the title which 
they gave it : and it is highly probable, that it contained the 
Romance of Richard the firft, on which I fhall enlarge be- 
low. At leali the vi(5lorious atchievements of that monarch 
were fo famous in the reign of Henry the fecond, as to be 
made the fubje6l of a pi6lure in the royal palace of Claren- 
don ■ near Salifbury. A circumftance which likewife appears 
from the fame antient record under the year 1246. *' Et 
" in camera regis fubtus capellam regis apud Clarendon 
" Jambrufcanda, et muro ex tranfverfo illius cameras amo- 
*' vendo et hyftoria Antiochiae in eadem depingenda cum 
*' DUELLO REGIS RiCARDi \" To thcfc auecdotcs we may 
add, that in the royal library at Paris there is, " Lancelot du 
** Lac mis en Francois par Robert de Borron, du cojnmandement 
" d' Henri roi de Angleterre avec figures'^ T And the fame rna- 
nufcript occurs twice again in that library in three volumes, 
and in four volumes of the largefl folio \ Which of our 

^ Rot. Pip. an. 21. Henr. III. 

■ Rot. Pip. an. 36. Henr. III. Richard 
the firft performed great feats at the fiege 
of Antioch in the crufade. The Duellum 
was another of his exploits among the Sara- 
cens. Compare Walpole's Anecd. Paint. 
i. JO. Who mentions a certain |^>-^«/ book 
borrowed for the queen, written in French, 
containing Ge5Ta ANTiocHa.ff: et regum 

aliorum, l^c. This was in the year 1249. 
He adds, that there was a chamber in the 
old palace of Weftminfter, painted with this 
hillory, in the reign of Henry the third, 
and therefore called the Antioch Cham- 
ber : and another in the Tower. 

"^ Cod. 6783. fol. max. See Montfauc 
Catal. MSS. p. 785.3. 

^ See Montf. ibid. 




Henrys It was who thus commanded the romance of Lan- 
celot Du Lac to be tranllated into French, is indeed uncer- 
tain: but moft probably it was Henry the third juft men- 
tioned, as the tranflator Robert Borron is placed foon after 
the year 1 200 °. 

And not only the pieces of the French minftrels, written 
in French, were circulated in England about this time j but 
^ranflations of thefe pieces were made into Englifli, which 
containing much of the French idiom, together with a fort 
of poetical phrafeology before unknown, produced various 
innovations in our ftyle. Thefe tranflations, it is probable, 
were enlarged with additions, or improved with alterations 
of the flory. Hence it was that Robert de Brunne, as we 
have already feen, complained ofjirange and quaint Englifli, of 
the changes made in the flory of Sir Tristram, and of the 
liberties aflumed by his cotemporary minftrels in altering 
fa6ts and coining new phrafes. Yet thefe circumftances en- 
riched our tongue, and extended the circle of our poetry. 
And for what reafon thefe fables were fo much admired 
and encouraged, in preference to the languid poetical chro- 
nicles of Robert of Gloucefter and Robert of Brunne, it is 
obvious to conje6lure. The gallantries of chivalry were ex- 
hibited with new fplendour, and the times were growing 
more refined. The Norman fafliions were adopted even in 
Wales. Li the year 1176, a fplendid caroufal, after the 
manner of the Normans, was given by a Welfli prince. 
This was Rhees ap Gryffyth king of South Wales, who at 
Chriflmas made a great feafl in the caflle of Cardigan, theji 

' " Among the infinite number of old ma- 
nufcript French romances on this fubjedl in 
thg fame noble repofitory, the learned 
Montfaucon recites, " Le Roman de Trif- 
" tan et Ifeult traduitde Latin en Francois 
" par Lucas chevalier fieur du chaftel du 
" Gaft pres de Salifberi, Anglois, avec 
♦* figures." Cod. 6776. fol. max. And 

again, " Livres de Triflan mis en Fran^ds 
" par Lucas chevalier fieur de chateau du 
*' Gat." Cod. 6956. feq. fol. max. In 
another article, thistramlator the chevalier 
Lucas, of whom I can give no account, is 
called Hue or Hue. Cod. 6976^ feq. Nor 
do I know of any caftle, or place, of this 
name near Salifbury, See aifo Cod. 7 1 74. 

Q 2 




called Aberteivi, which he ordered to be proclaimed through- 
out all Britain 5 and to " which came many ilrangers, who 
<« were honourably received and 'worthily entertained, fo that 
no man departed difcontented. And among deeds of arms 
and other iliewes, Rhees caufed all the poets of Wales '' to 
come thither: and provided chairs for them to be fet in 
his hall, where they lliould difpute together to try their 
cunning and gift in their feveral faculties, where great 
rewards and rich giftes were appointed for the overcomers '^J\ 







■p In illuftration of the argument purfued 
in the text we may obferve, that about this 
time the Englifh minftrels fiourifhed with 
tiew honours and rewards! At the magni- 
^cent marriage of the countefs of Holland, 
daughter of Edward the firft, every king 
minltrel received xl. fhillings. See Anftis 
Ord. Gart. ii. p. 303. And Dugd. Mon. 
i. 355. In the fame reign a multitude of 
Tninttrels attended the ceremony of knight- 
ing prince Edward on the feaft of Pentc- 
coft. They entered the hall, while the 
king was fitting at dinner, furrounded with 
the new knights. Nic. Trivet. Annal. p. 
342. edit. Oxon. The whole number 
knighted was two hundred and llxty-feven. 
Dugd. Bar. i. So. b. Robert de Brunne 
fays, this was the grcateft royal feaft fmce 
king Arthur's at Carleon : concerning 
which he adds, " therof yit men rime" 
'p. 332. In the wardrobe-roll of the fame 
prince, under the year I3<y6, We have this 
entry. *' Vv'ill. Fox et Cradoco focio 
'' fuo cantaVorieus cnntantibas coram 
" Prihcipe et aliis magnatibus in comitiva 
*' fua exift<;nte apud London, &c. xxj." 
Again, " Willo Ffox et Cradoco focio fuo 
■*' cantantibus in prasfentia principis et al. 
'" Magnatum apud London de dono ejuf- 
■** dcm dni per manus Johis de Ringwode, 
••' &c. S. die Jan. xx/. Afterwards in the 
fame rbll, four fliillings aregi\en, "Minif- 
■*' trallo comitilTse Marefchal. facienti mc- 
*' heftralciam fuam coram principe, &c. in 
**'' comitiva fua cxiltent. apud Penreth." 
•Comp. Gardcrob. Edw.Princip.Wall.ann. 
35 Ldw. i. 'i'his I chiefly cite to fliew 
..^ihe greatnefs iof the gratuity. Minftrels 

were part of the eftablifhrrteht of the houf- 
hold of our nobility before the year 1307. 
Thomas earl of Lancafter allows at Chrift- 
mas, cloth, or ivej^is liherata., to his houf- 
^lokte minitrels at a great expence, in thfe 
year 13 •4- Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 134, 
edit. 1618. See fupr. p. 91. Soon afterwards 
the minftrels claimed fuch privileges that it 
was thought neceflary to reform them by an 
edift, in 1315. Sfee Hearne's Append, 
Leland. Colleftan. vi, 36. Yet, as I have 
formerly remarked in Observations on 
Spenser's Faierie Qxjtene, we find a 
perfon in the charadler of a minftrel en- 
tering Weftmihfter-hall on horfeback white 
Edward the fecond was folemnizing the 
feaft of Penucoji as above, and prefenting 
a letter to the king. See WalJing. Hift. 
Angl. Franc, p. 109. 

<i Powell's Wales, 237. edit. 1584. Who 
•adds, that the bards of " North wales 
" won the. prize, and amcnge the mufici- 
" ans Rees's owne houftiold men were 
" counted beft." Rhees was one of the 
Welfti princes, who, the pireceding year, 
attended the parliament at Oxford, arid 
were magnificently entertained in the caftfe 
of that city by Henry ihe feccnd. Lord 
Lyttelton's Hift. Hen. II. edit. iii. p. 302. 
It may not be foreign to cilr prefent pur- 
pofe to mention here, that Henry tlie fecond, 
in the year 1 179, was entertained by V/elfti 
■barfls at Pembroke caftle ih Wales, in his 
pafTage into Ireland, PcwtU, ut fupi- 
p. 238. The iubjeft of thdr fongs v/as 
the hiftory of king Arthur. Sec Seldeh on 
Pc L Y o LB . f. iii. p. 5;3 . 



Tilts anti tournaments, after a long difufe, were revived 
with fuperiour luftre in the reign of Edward the firfl:. 
Roger earl of Mortimer, a magnificent baron of that reign, 
creeled in his ftately caftle of Kenelworth a Round Table, at 
which he reftored the rites of king Arthur. He entertained 
in this caftle the conftant retinue of one hundred knight?, 
and as many ladies ; and invited thither adventurers in chi- 
\^alry from every part of chriftendom '. Thefe fables were 
therefore an image of the manners, cuftoms, mode of I'lfc^ 
and favourite amufements, which now prevailed, not only 
in France but in England, accompanied with all the decora- 
tions which fancy could invent, and recommended by the 
graces of romantic fi6lion. They complimented the ruling 
paffion of the times, and cheriftied in a high degree the 
faihionable fenliments of ideal honour, and fantaftic 

Among Richard's French minftrels, the names only of 
three are recorded. I have already mentioned Blondell de 
Nefle, Fouquet of Marfeilles, and Anfelme Fayditt, many 
jof whofe compofitions ftill remain, were alfo among the 
poets patronifed and entertained in England by Richard. 
They are both celebrated and fometimes imitated by Dante 
and Petrarch. Fayditt, a native of Avignon, united the 
profeflions of muiic and verfe j and the Provencials ufed to 
call his poetry <ie bon mots e de bon fon. Petrarch is fuppofed 
to have copied, in his Triumfo di Amore, many ftrokes 
of high imagination, from a poem written by Fayditt on a 
fnnilar fabject : particularly in his defcription of the Palace 
of Love. But Petrarch has not left Fayditt without his due 
panegyric : he fays that Fayditt's tongue was fliield, helmet, 
Iword, and fpear '. He is likewife in Dante's Paradife.. 
Fayditt was extremely profafe and voUiptuous. On the 

!■ Drayton's Heroic. Epill. MoPvT. Is a bet., v. .53. ilnd Notes ibid. £iom WaWngiinai, 
•^ Triumf. Ahj. c. iy. 




death of king Richard, he travelled on foot for near twenty- 
years, feeking his fortune ; and during this long pilgrimage 
he married a nun of Aix in Provence, who was young and. 
lively, and could accompany her hufband's tales and fonnets 
with her voice. Fouquet de Marfeillcs had a beautiful 
pcrfon, a ready wit, and a talent for fmging : thefe popular 
accomplifliments recommended him to the courts of king 
Richard, Raymond count of Tholoufe, and Beral de Baulx ; 
V\^here, as the French would fay, il jit les delices de cour. He 
fell in love with Adelafia the wife of Beral, whom he cele- 
brated in his fongs. One of his poems is entitled. Las cof7i- 
planchas de Beral. On the death of all his lords, he received 
abfolution for his fin of poetry, turned monk, and at length 
was made archbifhop of Tholoufe \ But among the many 
French minftrels invited into England by Richard, it is na- 
tural to fuppofe, that fome of them made their magnificent 
and heroic patron a principal fubje(5l of their compofitions ". 
And this fubjeft, by means of the conftant communication 

* See Beauchamps, Recherch. Theatr. 
Pr. Paris, 1735. p. 7. 9. It was Jeffrey, 
Richard's brother, who patronifed Jeffrey 
Rudell, a famous troubadour of Provence, 
who is alfo celebrated by Petrarch. This 
poet had heard, from the adventurers in 
the crufades, the beauty of a couutefs of 
Tripoly highly extolled. He became en- 
amoured from imagination : embarked for 
Tripoly, fell fick in the voyage through 
the fever of expedation, and was brought 
on fhore at Tripoly half expiring. The 
countefs, having received the news of the 
arrival of this gallant llranger, haftened to 
the fhore and took him by the hand. He 
opened his eyes ; and at once overpowered 
by his difeafe and her kindnefs, had juft 
time to fay inarticulately, that ha-vingj'een 
h:r he died fatisfcd. The countefs made 
him a moit fplendid fjneral, and erected to 
his memory a tomb of porphyry, infcribed 
with an epitaph in Arabian vcrfe. She com- 
manded his fonnets to be richly copied and 
illuminated witli letters of gold j was feized 

with a profound melancholy, and turned 

nun. I will endeavour to tranflate one of 

the fonnets which he made on his voyage. 

Ti-at et doletit tri'en partray. Sec. It has 

fome pathos and fentitnent, " I fhould 

" depart penfive, but for this love of mine 

" fo far aifiiy ; for I know not what difH- 

" cultles I have to encounter, my native 

" land being /o far anjony. Thou who 

" haft made all things, and who fopmed 

" this love of mmtju far an.vay, give me 

" flrength of body, and then I may hope 

'* to fee this love of mine fo far a^uy. 

" Surely my love muft be founded on true 

" merit, as I love ont fo far a^vay ! If I 

" am eafy for a moment, yet I feel a thou- 

" fand pains for her who is fo far away. 

" No other love ever touched my heart 

" than this for \itx fo far anKny. A fairer 

" than fhe never touched any heart, either 

" near, or fa- awcayy Every fourth line 

ends with d:i lue?7ch. See Noftradamus, &c. 

" Fayditt is faid to have written a Chant 

funebre on his death. Beauchamps, ib. p. 10. 



between both nations, probably became no lefs fafliionable 
in France : efpecially if we take into the account the general 
popularity of Richard's chara6ler, his love of chivalry, his 
gallantry in the crufades, and the favours which he fo libe- 
rally conferred on the minftrels of that country. We have 
a romance now remaining in Englifli rhyme, which cele- 
brates the atchievements of this illuflrious monarch. It is 
entitled Richard cuer du lyon, and was probably tranf- 
lated from the French about the period above-mentioned. 
That it was, at leafl, tranllated from the French, appears 
from the Prologue. 

In Fraunce thefe rymes were wroht, 
Every Englyfhe ne knew it not. 

From which alfo we may gather the popularity of his ftory 
in thefe lines. 

King Richard is the befle ^ 
That is found in any gefle "". 

That this romance^ either in French or Englifli, exifted 
before the year 1300, is evident from its being cited by 
Robert of Gloucefler, in his relation of Richard's reign. 

In Romance of him imade me it may finde iwrite *. 

This tale is alfo mentioned as a romance of fome antiquity 
among other famous romances, in the prologue of a vo- 
luminous metrical tranflation of Guido de Colonna, attri- 
*buted to Lidgate ^ It is likewife frequently quoted by Ro- 

^^ This agrees with what Hoveden fays, y Many fpekeo of men that romaunces 

iibi fupr. " Dicebatur ubique quod non rede, &c. 

" erat talis in orbe." Of Bevys, Gy, and Gawayne, 

" Impr. forW. C. 410. It contains Sign. Of kyng Rychard, and Owayne, 

A. I . — Q^ iii. There is another edition Of Triftram, and Percyvayle, 

impr. W. de Worde, 4to. 1528. There Of Rowland Ris, and Aglavaule, 

is a manufcrlpt copy of it in Caius Col- Of Archeroun, and of Odavian, 

Jcge at Cambridge, A. o. Of Charles, and of Caffibedlan, 

^ Chron. p. 487. O 



bert de Brunne, who wrote much about the fame time with 
Robert of Gloucefter. 

Whan Philip tille Acres cam litelle was his dsdcy 

The Romance fais gret fham who fo that pas "" wil rede. 

The Romancer it fais Richard did make a pele *. — 

The Romance of Richard fais he wan the toun \ — 

He tellis in the Romance fen Acres wonnen was 

How God gaf him fair chance at the bataile of Caifas \ — 

Sithen at Japhet was flayn fanuelle his flede 

The Romans tellis gret pas of his douhty dede''. — • 

Soudan fo curteys never drank no wyne, 

The fame the Romans fais that is of Richardyn '• 

In prifoun was he bounden, as the Romance fais. 

In cheynes and lede wonden that hevy was of peis ^-^ 

I am not indeed quite certain, whether or no in fome of 
thefe inftances, Robert de Brunne may not mean his French 
original Peter Langtoft. But in the following lines he ma- 
nifeftly refers to our romance of Richard, between which 
and Langtoft's chronicle he exprefHy makes a diftin6lion. 
And in the conclufion of the reign. 

Of Keveloke, Home, and of Wade, 

In romances that of hem bi made 

That geftours dos of him geftes 

At mangeres and at great Teftes, 

Here dedis ben in remerabraunce. 

In many fair romaunce. 

But of the vvorthieft wyght in wede. 

That ever byftrod any ftede 

Spekes-no man, ne in romaunce redes, 

Off his battayle ne of his dedes ; 

Off that battayle fpekes no man. 

There all prowes of knyghtes began, 

Thet was forfodie of the batayle 

Thet at Troy E was faunfayle. 

Of fwythe a fyght as ^her was one, &c.-- 

Ffor ther were in thet on fide, 

Sixti kynges and dukes of pride.— 

And tkere was the beft bodi in dede 
That ever yit wered wede, 
Sithen the world was made fo ferre. 
That was Ector in eche werre, &c. 
Laud. K. 76. f. I. fol. MSS. Bibl. Bodf. 
Cod. membr. Whether this poem was 
written by Lidgate, I (hall not enquire at 
prefent. I ftiall only fay here, that it ia 
totally different from either of Lidgate's 
two poems on the Theban and Trojan 
Wars ; and that the manufcript, which 
is beautifully written, appears to be of the 
age of Henry the fixth. 

^ Pass us. Compare Percy's Ball. ii. 
66. 398. edit. 1767. * ?. 157. 

" Ibid. <= P. 175. * P. 175. 

« P. i88. f P. 198. 

I knowQ 


I knowe no more to ryme of dedes of kyng Richard : 

Who fo wille his dedes all the fothe fe, 

The romance that men reden ther is propirte. 

This that I have faid it is Pers fawe ^ 

Als he in romance ^ lad ther after gan I drawe '. 


It is not improbable that both thefe rhyming chroniclers 
cite from the Englifli tranflation : if fo, we may fairly fup- 
pofe that this romance was tranflated in the reign of Ed- 
ward the firfl, or his predccefTor Henry the third. Perhaps 
earlier. This circumftance throws the French original to a 
ftill higher period. 

In the royal library at Paris, there is " Hiftoire de Richard 
** Roi d'Angleterre et de Maquemore d'Irlande en rime ''Z* 
Richard is the laft of our monarchs whofe atchievements 
were adorned with fi6lion and fable. If not a fiiperftitious 
belief of the times, it was an hyperbolical invention ftarted 
by the minftrels, which foon grew into a tradition, and is 
gravely recorded by the chroniclers, that Richard carried 
with him to the crufades king Arthur's celebrated fword 
Caliburn, and that he prefented it as a gift, or relic, of 
inellimable value to Tancred king of Sicily, in the year 
1191 *. Robert of Brunne calls this fword ayVit'^/"". 

And Richard at that time gaf him a faire juelle. 

The gude fwerd Caliburne which Arthur luffed fo well 

8 ♦* The words of my original Peter 
" latigtoft:' 

^ In French, 

^ P. 205. Du Cange recites an old 
French manufcript profe romance, entitled 
Hijfoire de la Mart de Richard Roy d'' An- 
glcterre. GlofT. Lat. Ind. Auct. i. p. cxci. 
There was one, perhaps the fame, among 
the manufcripts of the late Mr< Martin of 
Palgrave in Suffolk. 

^ Num. 7532. 

' In return for feveral veilels of gold 
and filver, horfes, bales of filk, four great 
fhips, and fifteen gallies, given by Tancred. 
Benedift. Abb. p. 642. edit. Hearne. 

^ locale. In the general and true fenfe 
of the word. Robert de Brunne, in ano- 
ther place, calls a rich pavilion zjovjelle. 
p. 152. 

« Chron. p. 153. 

Vol. L 




indeed the Arabian writer of .the life of the Sultan Saladin^ 
mentions fome exploits of Richard almoft incredible. But, 
as Lord Lyttelton juflly obferves, this hiflorian is highly 
valuable on account of the knowledge he had of the fafts 
which he relates. It is from this writer we learn, in the 
mofl authentic manner, the a^lions and negotiations of 
Richard in the co;urfe of the enterprife for the recovery of 
the holy land, and all the particulars of that memorable 
war °. 

But before I produce a fpecimen of Richard's Englifh ro- 
mance^ I ftand ftill to give fome more extrafts from its 
Prologues, which contain matter much to our prefent pur- 
pofe : as they have very fortunately preferved the fubjects 
of many romances, perhaps metrical, then fafliionable both 
in France and England. And on thefe therefore, and their 
origin, I fhall take this opportunity of offering fome re- 

Many romayns men mal^e newe 
Of good knightes and of trewe : 
Of thcr dedes men make romauns, 
Both in England and in Fraun<:ei 
Of Rowla7id and of Olyvere^ 
And of everie Dofep^re^, 
Of Alyfaufidre and Charlemayjie^ 
Of kyng Arthur and of Gawayne-, 
How they wer knyghtes good and courtoys, 
' Of T'urpin and of Oger the DanoisL, 
Of 'Troye men rede in ryme.j 
Of HeSior and of Achilles^ 
What folk they ilewe in pres, &c \ 

And again in a fecond Prologue, after a paufe has been 
jmade by the minflrel in the courfe of fmging the poem. 

* See Hift. of Hen. II. vol. iv. p. 36r. App. 
•? Charlemagne's Twelve PeerSo Douxe Pairs. Fr. < .ITol, i. a. 



Herkene now how my tale gothe 
Though I fwere to you no othe 
I wyll you rede romaynes none 
Ne of ' PertonapCy ne of Ypomedon, 
Ne of Alifaunder^ ne of Charlemayne^ 
Ne of Arthur^ ne of Gawayne^ 
Ne of Lafjcelot du Lake, 
Ne of Bevis, ne of Guy of Sydrake \ 
Ne of Ury, ne of OSiavian, • 
Ne of HeBo?' the ftrong man, 
Ne of Jafoft, neither of Achilles, 
Ne of E?ieasy neither Hercules \ 


* Perhaps Parthenope, or Parthenopeus. 

* Read, " ne of Guy ne of Sydrake." 

' Signat. P. iii. To fome of thefe ro- 
mances the author of the manufcript Lives 
08 THE Saints, written about the year 
li 200, and cited above at large, alludes in a 
fort of prologue. See Sect. i. p. 14. fupr. 
Wei auht we loug criftendom that is fo 

dere y bougt. 
With oure lorde's herte blode that the fpere 

hath y fougt. 
Men wilnethe more yhere of batayle of 

And of knygtis hardy, that mochel is le- 

Of Roulond and of Olyvere, and Gy cf 

Of TVaivayen and Trijtram that ne foundde 

here y like. 
Who fo loveth to here tales of fuche 

Here he may y here thyng that nys no 

Of poftoles and marteres that hardi knygttes 


And ftedfaft were in bataile and fledde nogt 
for no fere, &c. 
The anonymous auther of an antient ma- 
nufcript poem, called " The bake of Stories 
*' called Cursor Mundi," tranflated 
from the French, feems to have been of the 
fame opinion. His work confiils of reli- 
gious legends : but in the prologue he takes 
occafion to mention many tales of another 


kind, which were more agreeable to the 
generality of readers. MSS. Laud, K. 53. 
f. 117. Bibl. Bodl. 

Men lykyn Jeftis for to here 
And romans rede in divers manere 
Of Alexandre the conquerour. 
Of Julius Cefar the emperour. 
Of Greece and Troy the ftrong ftryf, 
Ther many a man loft his lyf : 
Of Brut that baron bold of hand 
The firft conquerour of Englond, 
Of kyng Artour that was fo ryche. 
Was non in hys tyme fo ilyche : 
Of wonders that among his knyghts felle. 
And auntyrs dedyn as men her telle. 
As Gaiuepi and othir full abylle 
Which that kept the round tabyll. 
How kyng Charles and Roland fawght 
With Sarazins, nold thei be cawght ; 
Of Iryftratn and Tfoude the fwete, 
How thai with love firft gan mete. 
Of kyng John and of Ijenbras 
Of Ydoyne and Amadas. 
Stories of divers thynges 
Of princes, prelates, and kynges. 
Many fongs of divers ryme 
As Englifii, French, and Latyne, &c. 
This ylke boke is tranflatc 
Into Englifh tong to rede 
For the love of Engliih lede 
Ffor comyn folk of England, &c. 
Syldyn yt ys for any chaunce 
Englifh tong preched is in Fraunce, &c. 
SeeM0ntf.Par.MSS.754o.Andp. 119. fupr. 

2 Here, 


Here, among others, fome of the moft capital and favou- 
rite ftories of romance are mentioned, Arthur, Charlemagne, 
the Siege of Troy with its appendages, and Alexander the 
Great: and there are four authors of high efteem in the 
dark ages, Geoffry of Monmouth, Turpin, Guido of Co- 
lonna, and Callifthenes, whofe books were the grand repo- 
fitories of thefe fubje6ls, and contained moft of the tradi- 
tionary fi6lions, whether of Arabian or claffical origin, 
which conftantly fupplied materials to the writers of ro- 
mance. I fhall fpeak of thefe authors, with their fubjedls, 

But I do not mean to repeat here what has been already 
obferved " concerning the writings of Geoffry of Monmouth 
and Turpin. It will be fufficient to fay at prefent, that thefe 
two fabulous hiftorians recorded the atchievements of Char- 
lemagne and of Arthur : and that Turpin's hiftory was art- 
fully forged under the name of that archbifhop about the 
year iiio, with a defign of giving countenance to the cru- 
fades from the example of fo high an authority as Charle- 
magne, whofe pretended vifit to the holy fepulchre is 
defcribed in the twentieth chapter. 

As to the Siege of Troy, it appears that both Homer's 
poems were unknown, at leafl not underftood in Europe, from 
the abolition of literature by the Goths in the fourth cen- 
tury, to the fourteenth. Geoffry of Monmouth indeed, who 
wrote about the year 1160, a man of learning for that age, 
j)roduces Homer in atteftation of a fa£f aflerted in his hif- 
tory: but in fuch a manner, as fliews that he knew little 
more than Homer's name, and was but imperfeftly ac- 
^quainted with Homer's fubje6^. Geoffry fays, that Brutus 
having ravaged the province of Acquitain with fire and 
fword, came to a place where the city of Tours now flands, 
MS Homer tejlifies ". But the Ttojan ilory was Hill kept alive 

" See Diir. i. ^ JL. i. ch. i J,. 



in two Latin pieces^ which pafTed under the names of Dares 
Phrygius and Di6lys Cretenfis. Dares's hiftory of the de- 
fbruftion of Troy, as it was called, pretended to have been 
tranllatcd from the Greek of Dares Phrygius into Latin 
profe by Cornelius Nepos, is a wretched performance, and 
forged under thofe fpecious names in the decline of Latui 
literature ^ Di6lys Cretenfis is a profe Latin hiftory of 
the Trojan war, in fix books, paraphrafed about the reign 
of Dioclefian or Conftantine, by one Septimius, from fome 
Grecian hiftory on the fame fubje6l, faid to be difcovered 
under a fepulchre by means of an earthquake in the city of 
CnofTus, about the time of Nero, and to have been compofed 
by Di6fys, a Cretan, and a foldier in the Trojan war. The 
fraud of difcovering copies of books in this extraordinary 
manner, in order to infer from thence their high and indu- 
bitable antiquity, fo frequently praftifed, betrays itfelf. Eut 
that the prefent Latin Di6lys had a Greek original, now 
loft, appears from the numerous grecifms with which it 
abounds : and from the literal correfpondence of many paf- 
fages with the Greek fragments of one Di6lys cited by 
antient authors. The Greek original was very probably 
forged under the name of Di6lys, a traditionary writer on 
the lubje6i:, in the reign of Nero, who is faid to have been 
fond of the Trojan ftory '\ On the whole, the work appears to 

y Tn the EpiUle prefixed, the pretended 
tranflator Nepos fays, that he found this 
work at Athens, in the hand-writing of 
Dares, He adds, fpeaking of the contro- 
verted authenticity of Homer, De ea re 
jithenis jUBiciuM fuit, cum pro infano 
Hort'.erus haheretur qucd deos cum hominibus 
bell'igerajfe defcripjit. In which words he 
does not refer to any public decree of the 
Athenian judges, but to Plato's opinion in 
his Republic. Dares, with Diftys Cre- 
tenfis next mentioned in the text, was firft 
j)rintedai Milan in 1477, ■ Mabilion fays, 
cthat a manuf.Tipt of the Pfeudo-Dares oc- 
.curs in the Laurentiaa library at Florence, 

upwards of eight hundred years old. Muf. 
Ital. i. p. 169. This work was abridged 
by Vincentius Bellovacenfis, a friar of Bur- 
gundy, about the year 1 244. See his Spe- 
cul. Hilior. lib. iii. 63. 

^ See Perizon. Difl'ertat. deDid. Cretenf. 
fe£l. xxix. Conftantinus Lafcaris, a learned 
m.onk of Conitantinople,oneof the reilorcrs 
of Grecian literature in Europe near four 
hundred years ago, fays that Didys Cre- 
tenfis in Greek was loft. This writer is 
not once mentioned by Euftathiu;, who 
lived about the year 1 170, in his elaborate 
and extensive commentary on Homer. 




have been an arbitrary metaphrafe of Homer, with many 
fabulous interpolations. At length Guido de Colonna, a 
native of Meffina in Sicily, a learned civilian, and no con 
temptible Italian poet, about the year 1260, engrafting on 
Dares and Di6lys many new romantic inventions, w^hich the 
tafte of his age di6lated, and w^hich the connexion between 
Grecian and Gothic fi6lion eafily admitted ; at the fame 
time comprehending in his plan the Theban and Argonautic 
flories from Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus *, compiled 
a grand profe romance in Latin, containing fifteen books, 
and entitled in moft manufcripts Hiftoria de Bdlo T^rojano ", 
It was written at the requeft of Mattheo de Porta, arch- 
bifhop of Salerno. Dares Phrygius and Di6lys Cretenfis 
feem to have been in fome meafure fuperfeded by this 
improved and comprehenfive hiflory of the Grecian heroes : 
and from this period Achilles, Jafon, and Hercules, were 
adopted into romance, and celebrated in common with 
Lancelot, Rowland, Gawain, Oliver, and other Chriftian 
champions, whom they fo nearly refembled in the extra- 
vagance of their adventures ^ This work abounds with 
oriental imagery, of which the fubjedl was extremely fuf- 
ceptible. It has alfo fome traites of Arabian literature. 

* The Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus 
are cited in Chaucer's Hypfipile and Medea. 
" Let him reade the boke Argonanticon." 
V. go. But Guido is afterwards cited as a 
writer on that fubjedl, ibid. 97. Valerius 
Flaccus is a common manufcript. See p. 
133. infr. 

'' It was firll printed Argentorat, i486, 
and ibid. 1489. fol. The work was 
finifhed, as appears by a note at the end, 
in 1287. It was tranllated into Italian by 
Philip or Chriftopher Ceffio, a Florentine, 
and this tranflation was firll printed at Ve- 
nice in 1481. 4to. It has alio been tranf- 
lated into German. See Lambec. ii. 948. 
The purity of our author's Italian ftyle has 
been much commended. For his Italian 
poetry, fee Mongitor, ubi fupr. p. 167. 

Compare alfo Diar. Eruditor. Ital. xiii. 
258. Montfaucon mentions, in the royal 
library at Paris, Le Roman de Tlebes qui 
fut racine de Troye le grand. Catal. MSS. 
ii. p. 923 — 198. 

"= Bale fays, that Edward the firft, hav- 
ing met with our author in Sicily, in re- 
turning from Afia, invited him into Eng- 
land, xiii. 36. This prince was interefled 
in the Trojan ftory, as we fhall fee below. 
Our hiliorians relate, that he wintered in 
Sicily in the year 1270. Chron. Rob. 
Brun, p. 277. A writer quoted by Hearne, 
fuppofed to be John Stowe the chronicler, 
fays, that " Guido de Columpna arriving 
" in England at the ccmmaundement ofning 
" Edivard the firjie, made fcholies and 
" annotations upon Diftys Cretenfis and 

♦' Dares 



"The Trojan horfe is a horfe of brafs j and Hercules is taught 
aftronomy, and the feven liberal fciences. But I forbear to 
enter at prcfent into a more particular examination of this 
Jiiftory, as it muft often occafionally be cited hereafter. I 
iliall here only further obferve in general, that this work is 
the chief fource from which Chaucer derived his ideas about 
the Trojan flory; that it was profefTedly paraphrafed by 
Lydgate, in the year 1420, into a prolix Englifn poem, 
called the Boke af Troye ^^ at the command of king Henry the 
£fth ; that it became the ground-work of a new compilation 
in French, on the fame fubje6l, written by Raoul le Feure 
chaplain to the duke of Burgundy, in the year 1464, and 
partly tranflated into Englifh profe in the year 1471, by 
Caxton^ under the title of the Recuyel of the hijlories of T'roy^ 
at the requeft of Margaret dutchefs of Burgundy : and that 
from Caxton's book afterwards modernifed, Shakefpeare bor«- 
rowed his drama of T'roilus and CreJJida ". 

" Dares Phrigius. Befides thefe, he writ 
■*' at large the Battayle of Troye." Hem- 
jning. Cartul. ii. 649. Among his works is 
recited Hiftoria de Regibus Rebujque AngiifS. 
-it is quoted by many writers under the title 
t)f Chronicum Brito-tinoruvi. He is faid alfo 
to have \vx\tX.tXi-{'J}romcu7n Magman libr'ts 
•xxxvi. See Mongitor. Bibl. Sic. i. 26;. 

^ Who mentions it in a French as well -as 
■Latin edit. 1555. Signat. B. i. pag. 2. 

As in the latyn and the frenfhe yt is. 

Jt occurs in French, MSS. Bibl. Reg. Brit. 
•Muf. 16. F. ix. This manufcript was pro- 
cbably written not long after the year 1 3C0. 
'^ The weftern nations, in early times, 
^have been fond of deducing their origin 
:from Troy. This tradition fcems to be couch- 
ed under Odin's original emigratian from 
that part of Afia which is connefted with 
Phrygia. Afgard, or AfiJs fortrefs^ was the 
•city from which Odin led his colony ; and 
Jby fome it is called Troy. To tliis place 
•alfo they fuppofed Odin to return after his 
.death, where he was to receive thofe who 
s,4ied in battle, in a hall roofed with glitter- 

ing Shields. See Bartholin. L. ii. cap. 8. 
p. 402. 403. feq. This hall, fays the 
Edda, is in the city of Afgard, which is 
called the Field of Ida. Bartholin, ibid. 
In the very fublime ode on the DifTolution 
of the World, cited by Bartholine, it is 
faid, that after the twilight of the gods 
ihould be ended, and the new world ap- 
pear, the AfcS JJ^all meet in the field of Ida^ 
and tell of the defrayed hahitatims. BarthoL 
■L. ii. cap. 14. p. 597. Compare Arngrim. 
Jon. Crymog. 1. i. c. 4. p. 45. 46. See 
alfo Edda, fab. 5. In the proem to Refe- 
nius's Edda, it is faid, " Odin appointed 
-■" twelve judges or princes, at Sigtune in 
*' Scandinavia,asat Troy; andeftablifhed 
-*' there all the laws of Troy, and the 
-** cuftoms of the Trojans." See Hickef. 
Thefaur. i. DifTertat. Epift. p. 39. See 
■alfo Mallett's Hift. Dannem. ii. p. 34. 
Bartholinus thinks, that the compiler of 
the Eddie mythology, who lived A. D. 
1070, finding that the Britons and Francs 
xirew their defcent from Troy, was am- 
.bitious of alTigning the fame boafted origin 
Xo Odin. But thi^ tradition appears to 




Proofs have been given in the two prologues juft cited, 
of the general popularity of Alexander's ftory, another 
branch of Grecian hiftory famous in the dark ages. To 
thefe WQ mav add the evidence of Chaucer* 

Alifaundres ilorie is fo commune, 

That everie wight that hath difcrecioune 

Hath herde fomewhat of or al of his fortune ^ 

And in the Houfe of Fame^ Alexander is placed with Her- 
cules ^ I have already remarked, that he was celebrated in 
a Latin poem by Gualtier de Chatillon, in the year 12 12 ''. 
Other proofs will occur in their proper places '. The truth 

have beert older than the Edda. And it 
is more probable, that the Britons and 
Francs borrowed it from the Scandinavian 
Goths, and adapted it to themfelves ; un- 
lefs we fuppofe that thefe nations, I mean 
the former, were branches of the Gothic 
item, which gave them a fort of inhe- 
rent right to the claim. This reafoning 
may perhaps account for the early exiftence 
and extraordinary popularity of the Trojan 
llory among nations ignorant and illiterate, 
who could only have received it by tradi- 
tion. Geoirry of Monmouth took this de- 
fcent of the Britons from Troy, from the 
Wellh or Armoric bards, and they perhaps 
had it in common with the Scandinavian 
fcalders. There is not a fyllable of it in 
the authentic hiilorians of England, who 
wrote before him : particularly thofe an- 
tient ones, Bede, Gildas, and the uninterpo- 
iated Nennius. Henry of Huntingdon be- 
gan his hiftory from Ceefar ; and it was 
only on further inform.atjon that he added 
Brute. _But this information was from a 
manufcript found by him in his way to 
Rome in the abbey of Bee in Normandy, 
probably GecfFry's original. H. Hunt. Epif- 
Tol. ad IVarin, MSS. Cantabr. Bibl. Publ. 
cod. 251. I have mentioned in another 
place, that Wjtlaf, a king of the Weft Sax- 
ons, grants in his charter, dated A. D. 833. 
among other things, to Croyland-abbey, 
hii robe of liffue, on which was embroidered 

The DeJlriiBion of Troy. Obf. on Spenfer's 
Fairy Queen, i. feft.v. p. 176. This prove* 
the ftory to have been in !high veneration 
even long before that period : and it fhould 
at the fame time be remembered, that the 
Saxons came from Scandinavia. 

This fable of the defcent of the Britons 
from the Trojans was folemnly alledged 
as an authentic and undeniable proof in a 
controverfy of great national importance, 
by Edward the firft and his nobility, with- 
out the leaft objeftion from the oppofite 
party. It was in the famous difpute con- 
cerning the fubjedion of the crown of 
England to that of Scotland, about the 
year 1301. The allegations are in a letter 
to pope Boniface, figned and fealed by the 
king and his lords. Ypodigm. Neuftr. apud 
Camd. Angl. Norman, p. 492. Here is 
a curious inftance of the implicit faith with 
which this tradition continued to be be- 
lieved, even in a more enlightened age ; 
and an evidence that it was equally credited 
in Scotland. 

* V. 656. p. 165. Urr. ed. 

^ V. 323 

^ See Second Difl*ertation, 

' In the reign of Henry the firft, the 
flieriiF of Nottinghamiliire is ordered to 
procure the queen's chamber at Nottingham 
to be psinted v/ith theHisTORy of Alex- 
ander. Madox, Hift. Exch. p. 249 — 259. 
♦* Depingi facias historiam Alexan- 



is, Alexander was the moft eminent knight errant of Gre- 
cian antiquity. He could not therefore be long without his 
romance. Callifthenes, an Olinthian, educated under Arif- 
totle w^ith Alexander, wrote an authentic life of Alexander ". 
This hiftory, which is frequently referred to by antient 
writers, has been long fince loft. But a Greek life of this 
hero, under the adopted name of Callifthenes, at prefent 
exifts, and is no uncommon manufcript in good libraries '. 
It is entitled, Bio; AXz^oiv^^ov tov Mocze^ovog zai JJ^ix^ei^. 
That is, T^he Life and ji^iotis of Alexander the Macedrmian ". 
This piece was written in Greek, being a tranilation from 
the Perfic, by Simeon Seth, ftyled Magijler^ and protoveftiary 
or wardrobe keeper of the palace of Antiochus at Conftanti- 
nople", about the year 1070, under the emperor Michael Ducas*. 

** DRi undiquaque." In the Romance of 
Richard, the minftrell fays of an army af- 
fembled at a fiege in the holy land, Sign. 

Covered is both mount and playne, 
Kyng Alysaunder and Charlemayne 
He never had halfe the route 
As is the city now aboute. 

• By the way, this is much like a pafTage 
In Milton, Par. Reg. iii. 337. 

Such forces met not, nor fo wide a camp, 
When Agrican, &c. 

^ See Recherch. fur la Vie et les 
ouvrages de Calliilhene. Par M. I'Abbe 
Sevin. Mem. deLit. viii. p. 126. 4to. But 
many very antient Greek writers had cor- 
rupted Alexander's hiftory v/ith fabulous 
narratives, fuch as Orthagoras, Oneficritus, 

1 Particularly Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. MSS. 
Barocc. Cod. xvii. And Bibl. Reg. Paris. 
Cod. 2064. See Montfauc. Catal. MSS. 
p. 733. See pafTages cited from this manu- 
fcript, in Steph. Byzant. Abr. Berckcl. V. 
'Bo'jy.iipa.'Kna. Ccefar Bulenger dc Circo, c 
xiii. 30, &c. And Fabric. Bibl. Gr, xiv. 
148. 149. 150. It is adduced by Du 
Cange, GlofTar. Gr, ubi vid. Tom. ii. 
Catal. Scriptor. p. 24. 

^^ol. I. 

^ Undoubtedly many fmaller hiftories, 
now in ( ur libraries, were formed from this 
greater work. 

" ripi-lci/Jsrta^ioj, Protcvcjiiarius, See du 
Cange, Conftantinop. Chrift. lib. ii. § 16. 
n. 5. Et ad Zonur. p. 46. 

° Allat. de Simeonibus. p. 181. And 
Labb. Bibl. nov. MSS. p. I'j. Simeon 
Seth tranflated many Perfic and Arabic 
books into Greek. Allat. ubi fupr. p. 182. 
feq. Among them he tranflated from Ara- 
bic into Greek, about the year 1 100, for 
the ufe or at the rcqueft of the emperor 
Alexius Commenus, the celebrated Indian 
Fables now commonly called the Fables of 
Pilpay. This work he entitled 'Z']i(pixnl-/,<; 
Kxi I;/;!.-/}Aa]v:^, aiio divided it into fifteen 
books. It was printed at Berlin, by Seb. 
Godfr. Starchius, A. D. 1697. 8vo. Un- 
der the title, 'LiyAuti Mayt-^/d xat (pO^oj-oCpii 
rov Y.r,() KtAi>,E xai Ai/y-v:. Thefe are 
the names of two African or Afiatic ani- 
mals called in Latin Thoes, a fort of fox, 
the principal interlocutors in the fables. 
Sedl. i. ii. Thii curious monument of a 
fpecies of inflruclion peculiar to the orien- 
tals, is upwards of two thoufand years old. 
It has paffed under a great variety of names. 
Khofru a king of Perfia,. in whofe reign 
■S ' Mahoinet 



It was moft probably very foon afterwards tranllated from 
the Greek into Latin, and at length from thence into 

Mahomet was born, fent his phyfician 
named Burzvifch into India, on purpofe to 
obtain this book, which was carefully pre- 
ferved among the treafures of the kings of 
India : and commanded it to be tranflated 
out of the Indian language into the antient 
Perfic. Herbelot. Didt. Oriental, p. 456. 
It was foon afterwards turned into Syriac, 
under the title Cnlaileg and Damnag. Fa- 
bric. Bibl, Gr. vi. p. 461. About the year 
of Chrift 750, one of the caliphs ordered 
it to be tranflated from the antient Perfic 
into Arabic, under the name Kalila me 
Damna. Herbel. ubi fupr. In the year 
020, the Sultan Ahmed, of the dynafty of 
the Samanides, procured a tranflation into 
more modern Perfic : which was foon af- 
terwards put into verfe by a celebrated Per- 
fian poet named Roudeki. Herbel. ibid. 
Fabric, ibid. p. 462. About the year 1 1 30, 
the Sultan Bahram, not fatisfied with this 
Perfian verfion,, ordered another to be ex- 
ecuted by Nafrallah, the moft eloquent 
man of his age, from the Arabic text of 
Mocanna : and this Perfian verfion is what 
is now extant, under the title Kalila 've 
Dainna. Herbel. ibid. See alfo Herbel. p. 
1 18. But as even this laft-mentioned ver- 
fion has too many Arabic idioms, and obfo- 
lete phrafes, in the reign of Sultan Hofein 
Mirza, it was thrown into a more modern 
and intelligible ftyle, under the name of 
Anuar Soheli. Frafer's Hift. Nad. Shaw. 
Catal. MSS. p. 19. 20. Nor muft it be 
forgotten, that about the year 1100, the 
Emir Sohail, general of the armies of 
Huflain, Sultan of KhorafTan, of the pof- 
terity of Timer, caufed a new tranflation 
to be made by the doftor Huffien Vaez, 
which exceeded all others, in elegance and 
perfpicuity. It was named Annx>air Sohaili, 
Splendor Canopi, from the Emir who was 
called after the name of that ftar. Herbel. 
p. 118. 245. It would be tedious to men- 
tion every new title and improvement which 
it has paffed through among the eaftern 
people. It has been tranflated into the 
Turkifli language both in profe and verfe : 
particularly for the ufe of Bajazet the fecond 
and Solymau the fecond. Herbel. p. 118. 
it has been alfo tranflated into Hebrew, by 

Rabbi Joel : and into Latin, under the title 
Diredorium njitte humav^y by Johannes of 
Capua, [fol. fine ann.] From thence it got 
into Spanifli, or Caftilian ; and from the 
Spanifh was made an Italian verfion, prin- 
ted at Ferrara, A. D. 1583. oft. viz. Lela 
Damno [for Calilah u Damnah^ del Go-verro 
de regni, /otto morali, &c. A fecond edi- 
tion appeared at Ferrara in 16 10. oft. viz. 
Philofophia morale del doni. Sec. But I 
have a notion there was an Italian edition 
at Venice under the laft-mentioned title, 
with old rude cuts, 1552. 410. From the 
Latin verfion it was tranflated into German, 
by the command of Eberhard, firft duke of 
Wirtenberg : and this tranflation was prin- 
ted at Ulm, 1583. fol. At Strafl)urgh, 
1525. fol. Without name of place, 1548, 
4to. AtFrancfourtontheMayne, 1565.0ft. 
A French tranflation by Gilb. Gaulmin 
from the Perflc of Nafrallah above-men- 
tioned appeared at Paris, 1698. But this 
is rather a paraphrafe, and was reprinted in 
Holland. See Starchius, ubi fupr. pra;f. §. 
19. 20. 22. Fabric, ubi fupr. p. 463. feq. 
Another tranflation was printed at Paris, 
viz. " Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bid- 
<* pai etDe Lokman traduits d'Ali Tchel- 
*' chi-Bengalek auteur Turc, par M. Gal- 
" land, 1 7 14." ii vol. Again, Paris, 1724. 
ii vol. Fabricius fays, that Monf. Gal- 
land had procured a Turkifli copy of this 
book four times larger than the printed co- 
pies, being a verfion from the original 
Perfic, and entitled Humagoun Namehy that 
is. The 1-oyal or imperial hooky fo called by 
the orientals, who are of opinion that it 
contains the whole art of government. See 
Fabric, ubi fupr. p. 465. Herbel. p. 456. 
A Tranflation into Englifli from the French 
of the four firft books was printed at Lon- 
don in 1747, under the title of Pi lp ay's 
Fables. — As to the name of the author of 
this book, Herbelot {ays that Bidpai was 
an Indian philofopher,. and that his name 
fignifies the merciful phyfician. See Herbe- 
lot. p. 206. 456. And Bibl. Lugdun, Catal. 
p» 301. Others relate, that it was com- 
pofed by the Bramins of India, under the 
title Kurtiik Dumnik. Frafer, ubi fupr. p. 
19. It is alfo faid to have been written by 




French, Italian, and German ''. The Latrn tranflation was 
prmted Colon. Argentorat. A. D. 1489'. Perhaps before. 
For among Hearne's books in the Bodleian library, there is 
an edition in quarto, without date, fuppofed to have been 
printed at Oxford by Frederick Corfellis, about the year 
1468. It is faid to have been made by one ^^fopus, or by 
Julius Valerius ' : fuppofititious names, which feem to have 
been forged by the artifice, or introduced through the igno- 
rance, of fcribes and librarians. This Latin tranflation, 
however, is of high antiquity in the middle age of learn- 
ing : for it is quoted by Gyraldus Cambrenfis, who flourifhed 
about the year 1190'. About the year 1236, the fubftance 

Ifame fifth king of the Indians, and tranf- 
lated into Arabic from the Indian tongue 
three hundred years before Alexander the 
Macedonian. Abraham Ecchelens. Not. 
ad Catal. Ebed Jefu, p. 87. — The Indians 
reckon this book among the three things in 
which they furpafs all other nations, viz. 
" Liber CuLiLA et Dimna, ludus Sha- 
** tangri, et novem figure numeraris." 
Saphad. Comment, ad Carm. Tograi. apud 
Hyde, prolegom. ad lib. de lud. Oriental. 
d. 3. Hyde intended an edition of the 
Arabic verfion. Prafat. ad lib. de lud. 
Oriental, vol. ii. 1767. edit, ad calc. I 
cannot forfake this fubjeft without remark- 
ing, that the Perfians have anether book, 
which they efteem older than any writings 
of Zoroafter, entitled Ja-uidan Chrad, that 
is, eeterna Sapientia. Hyde Praefat. Relig. 
Vet. Perfarum. This has been alfo one 
ef the titles of Pilpay's Fables. 

' Caufab. Epift. ad ]of. Scaliger, 402. 
413. Scalig. Epift, ad Cafaubon. 113. 115. 
Who mentions alfo a tranflation of this 
work from the Latin into Hebrew, by one 
who adopted the name of Jof. Gorionides, 
called Pfeudo- Gorionides. This Latin hif- 
tory was tranflated into German by John 
Hartlieb MoUer, a German phyfician, at 
the command of Albert duke of Bavaria, 
and publifliedjAuguft. Vindel. A. D. 1478. 
fol. See Lambec. lib. ii. de Bibl, Vindo- 
bon. p. 949. Labbe mentions a fabalous 


hiftory of Alexander; written, as he fays, 
in 1 217, and tranfcribed in 1455. Un- 
doubtedly this in the text. Londinenfis 
quotes *' pervetuftum quendam llbrum ma- 
" nufcriptum de aftibus Alexandri." 
Hearne's T. Caius, ut infr. p. 82. See alfo 
p. 86. 258. 

•J Lenglet mentions " Hifloria fabulofa 
" incerti authoris de Alexandri Magni 
" prseliis. fol. 1 494. He adds, that it 
is printed in the laft edition of C^far's 
Commentaries byGrsvius in oftavo. Bibl.. 
des Romans, ii. p. 228. 229. edit. Amft. 
Compare Vogt's Catalogus lib>orum rario}\ 
pag. 24. edit. 1753. Montfaucon fays this 
hiftory of Callifthenes occurs often in the 
royal library at Paris, both in Greek and 
Latin : but that he never faw either of them 
printed. Cat. MSS. ii. pag. 733. — 2543. 
I think a life of Alexander is fubjoined to 
an edition of Quintus Curtius in 1584, by 
Joannes Monachus. 

■■ Du Cange Gloffar. Gr. v. E^£^^^^o;. 
Jurat, ad Symmach, iv. 33. Barth. Adver- 
far. ii. 10. v. 14. 

^ Hearne, T. Caii Vindic. Antiquit. 
Acad. Oxon. tom. ii. Not. p. 802. Who 
thinks it a work of the monks. " Nee 
" dubium quin monachus quifpiam Latine, 
" ut potuit, fcripferit. Eo modo, quo et 
•• alios id genus fcetus parturiebant fcrip- 
*' tores aliquot monaftici, e fabulis quas 
*« vulgo admodum placere fciebant." ibid. 

2 of 



of it was throv^n into a long Latin poem, written in elegiac 
verfe ', by Aretinus Quilichinus ". This fabulous narrative 
of Alexander's life and atchievements, is full of prodigies 
and extravagancies *. But we fliould remember its origin. 
The Arabian books abound with the moft incredible fiftions 
and traditions concerning Alexander the Great, which they 
probably borrowed and improved from the Perfians. They 
call him Efcander. If I recolle6l right, one of the miracles. 
of this romance is our hero's horn. It is faid, that Alexan- 
der gave the fignal to his whole army by a wonderful hora 
of immenfe magnitude, which might be heard at the dif- 
tance of fixty miles, and that it was blown or founded by 
lixty men at once". This is the horn which Orlando won 
from the giant Jatmund, and which, as Turpin and the 
Iflandic bards report, was endued with magical power, and 
TTiight be heard at the diftance of twenty miles. Cervantes 
fays, that it was bigger than a mafTy beam^ Boyardo,,. 

' A Greek poem on this fubje^l will be 
meRtioned below, written in politic verfes, 

entitled AXtiuv^^ivi; o Mciki^uv. 

" Labb. Bibl. Nov. MSS. p. 68. 01. 
Borrich. Diflertat. de Poet. p. 89. 

* The writer relates, that Alexander,, 
inclofed in a veffel of glafs, dived to the 
bottom of the ocean for the fake of getting 
a knowledge of fiilies and fea-monfters. 
He is alfo reprefented as foaring in the air 
by the help of gryphons. At the end, the 
opinions of different philofophers are re- 
cited concerning the fepulchre of Alexan- 
der. Nedabanos, a magician and ailrolo- 
ger, king of JEgypt, is a very fignificant 
charafter in this romance. He transforms 
himfelf into a dragon, &c. Compare Her- 
belot. Bibl. Oriental, p. 309. b. feq. In 
fome of the manufcripts of this piece which 
I have feen, there is an account of Alex- 
ander's vifit to the trees of the fun and 
moon : but I do not recoUeft this in the 
printed copies. Undoubtedly the original 
has had both interpolations and omiffions. 
Ffeudo-Gorionides above-mentioned, feems 
to hint at the ground-work of this hiftory 

of Alexander in the followlrg paffage. 
" Cieteras autem res ab Alexandro geftas,. 
*< et egregia ejus facinora ac quaecunque 
•' demum perpetravit, ea in libris Medo— 
" rum et Perfarum, atque apud Nicolaum,. 
" Titum, et Strabonem ; et in libris na- 
*' tivitatis Alexandri, rerumque ab ipfa. 
*' geflarum, quos Magi ac JEgyptii eo 
*' anno quo Alexander deceffit, compofue- 
" runt, fcripta reperies." Lib. ii. c. 12. — 
22. [Lat. Verf ] p. 152. edit. Jo. Frid. 

^ It is alfo in a manufcript entitled Secre- 
turn Secretormn ArtJiotcUs, Lib. 5. MSS'» 
Bodl. D. 1.5^. This treatife, afcribed to- 
Ariilotle, was antiently in high repute. It 
is pretended to have been tranllated out of 
Greek into Arabic or Chaldee by one John 
a Spaniard ; from thence into Latin by Phi- 
lip a Frenchman ; at length into Engliflv 
vei-fe by Lidgate : under whom more will 
be faid of it. I think the Latin is dedi- 
cated to Theophina, a queen of Spain. 

y See Obfervat. Fair, Qu. i. §. v. p. 



Berni, and Arioilo have all fuch a horn : and the ficlion is 
here traced to its original fource. But in fpeaking of the 
books which furnifhed the ftory of Alexander, I mull not 
forget that Quintus Curtius was an admired hiflorian of the 
romantic ages. He is quoted in the Policraticon of John 
of Salifbury, who died in the year 1181 ^. Eneas Sylvius 
relates, that Alphonfus the ninth, king of Spain, in the 
thirteenth century, a great aftronomer, endeavoured to re- 
lieve himfelf from a tedious malady by reading the bible 
over fourteen times, with all the glofles j but not meeting^. 
with the expe6lcd fuccefs, he was cured by the confolation 
he received from once reading Quintus Curtius \ Peter Ble- 
fenfis, archdeacon of London, a fludent at Paris about the 
year 1150, mentioning the books moil: common in the 
fchools, declares that he profited much by f7^equently looking i?ito 
this author ^ Vincentius Bellovacenfis, cited above, a writer 
of the thirteenth century, often quotes Curtius in his Spe- 
culum Hijiorale \ He was alfo early tranflated into French. 
Among the royal manufcripts in the Britifh Mufeum, there 
is a fine copy of a French tranflation of this clafTic, adorned 
Vv'ith elegant old paintings and illuminations, entitled, ^lijtte 
Curfe Riif\ des fuiz d' Alexandre ^ ix. liv. tranjlate par Vafque 
de Lucene Portiigalois. Efcript par la main de 'Jehan du Chejhe^ 
a Lille ^ It vv^as made in 1468. But I believe the Latin 
tranilations of Simeon Seth's romance on this fubje6l, were 
beft known and mod efteemed for fome centuries. 

The French, to refume the main tenour of our argument, 
had v/ritten metrical romances on moft of thefe fubjedls, 
before or about the year 1200. Some of thefe feem to have 

^ viii. 18. ' Op. p. 476. years old. See Barth. ad Claudian. p. 1 165. 

^ Epift. 101. Frequenter mfficere hi/- Alexander Benedidus, in his hiftory of 

idrias i^ Curtii, &c. Venice, tranfcribes whole pages from this 

"^ iv. 61, &c. Montfaucon, I think, hiflorian. I could give other proofs, 

mentions a manufcript of Q^ Curtius in the ^ 17 F. i. Brit. Muf. And again, 20 

Colbertine library at Paj-is, eight hundred C. iii. And 15 D. iv. 




been formed from profe hiftories, enlarged and improved 
with new adventures and embellifliments from earlier and 
more fimple tales in verfe on the fame fubjecl. Chreftien of 
Troys wrote Le Romans du GraaU or the adventures of the 
Sangrale, which included the deeds of king Arthur, Sir 
Triftram, Lancelot du Lake, and the reft of the knights of 
the round table, before 1 191. There is a paflage in a coeval 
romance, relating to Chreftien, which proves what I have 
juft advanced, that fome of thefe hiftories previoufly exifted 
in profe. 

Chriftians qui entent et paine 

A rimoyer le meillor conte. 

Par le commandement le Conte, 

Qu^il foit contez in cort royal 

Ce eft li contes del Graal 

Dont li quens li bailla le llvre *. 

Chreftien alfo wrote the romance of Sir Percivaly which 
belongs to the fame hiftory ^ Godfrey de Leigni, a cotem- 

« Apud Fauchett, Rec. p. 99. Who adds, 
** Je croy bien que Romans que nous avons 
** ajourdhuy imprimez, tels que Lancelot 
" du Lac, Triftan, et autres, font refon- 
" dus fus les vielles profes et rymes et puis 
** refraichis de language." Rec. liv. ii. x. 
The oldeft manufcripts of romances on 
thefe fubjefts which I have feen are the fol- 
lowing. They are in the royal manufcripts 
of the Britirii Mufeum. Le Romatiz de 
Trijiran, 20 D. ii. This was probably 
tranfcribed not long after the year i 200. — 
Hijioire dii Lancelot ou S. Graal, ibid. iii. 
Perhaps older than the year 1 200. — Again, 
Hijioire du S. Graal, cu Lancelot, 20 C. 
vi. I . Tranfcribed foon after 1 200. This is 
imperfeft at the beginning. The fubjeft 
of Jofeph of Arimathea bringing a veflel of 
the Sanguis realis, or Sangral, that is our 
Saviour's blood, into England, is of high 
antiquity. It is thus mentioned in Morte 
Arthur. *' And then the old man had an 
«• harpe, and he fung an olde Songe how 

*' Jofeph of Arimathy came into this 
" lande." B. iii. c. 5. 

' Fauchett, p. 103. This ftory was alfo 
written in very old rhyme by one Menef- 
fier, not mentioned in Fauchett, from 
whence it was reduced into profe 1530. fol. 
Parif. Percaval le Galois, h quel 
achcva les a'vantures du Saint Graal, a^uec 
aucun faits du che'valier Ga'vain, tranjlatee 
du ri7ne de Vancien auteur Messekier, 
&c. In the royal library at Paris is Le 
Roman de Perseval le Galois, par 
Crestien de Troves. In verfe. fol. 
Monf. Galland thinks there is another 
romance under this title, Mem', de Lit. iii. 
p. 4.27. feq. 433. 8vo. The author of which 
he fuppofes may be Rauol de Biavais, men- 
tioned by Fauchett, p. 142. Compare 
Lenglet, Bibl. Rom. p. 250. The author 
of this laft-mentioned Percevall, in the ex- 
ordium, fays that he wrote among others, 
he romances of Eneas, I^oy Marc, and 
Ufelt le Blonde : and that he tranflated 
into French, Ovid's Art of Love. 




porary, finifhed a romance begun by Chreflien, entitled La 
Cbarettey containing the adventures of Launcelot. Fauchett 
affirms, that Chreflien abounds with beautiful inventions ^ 
But no ftory is fo common among the earliefl French poets 
as Charlemagne and his Twelve Peers. In the Britifh Mu- 
feum we have an old French manufcript containing the 
hiftory of Charlemagne, tran dated into profe from Turpin's 
Latin. The writer declares, that he preferred a fober profe 
tranflation of this authentic hiftorian, as hiftories in rhyme, 
undoubtedly very numerous on this fubje6l, looked fo much 
like lies \ His title is extremely curious. " Ci comence 
I'Eftoire que Turpin le Ercevefque de Reins fit del bon 
roy Charlemayne, coment il conquift Efpaigne, e delivera 
des Paens. Et pur ceo qe EJioire rimee femble inenfiinge^ 
eft cefte mis in profe, folun le Latin qe Turpin mefmes 
" fift, tut enfi cume il le vift et vift *." 

Oddegir the Dane makes a part of Charlemagne's hif- 
tory j and, I believe, is mentioned by archbifhop Turpin. 
But his exploits have been recorded in verfe by Adenez, an 
old French poet, not mentioned by Fauchett, author of the 
two metrical romances of Berlin and Clcomades^ under the 
name of Ogier le Danois, in the year 1270. This author 
was mafter of the muficians, or, as others fay, herald at 
arms, to the duke of Brabant. Among the royal manu- 
fcripts in the- Mufeum, we have a poem, Le Livre de Ogeir 
de hannemarche \ The French have likewife illuftrated this 





E P, 105. ibid. 

*' There is a curious paflage to this pur- 
pofe in an old French profe romance of 
Charlemagne, written before the year 1 200. 
*• Baudouin Comte de Hainau trouva a 
" fens en Bourgongne le vie de Charle- 
*' magne : et mourant la donna a fa four 
*• Yolond ComtefTe de S. Paul qui m'a 
** prie que je la mette en Roman fans ryme. 
*• Parce que tel fe delitera el Roman qui 
'• del Latin n'ent cure ; et par le Roman 

" fera mielx gardee. Maintes gens en ont 
" ouy conter et chanter, mais n'eft ce men- 
" foiige non ce qu'ils en difent et chantent 
" cil conteour ne cil jugleor. Nuz con- 



* MSS. Harl. 273. 23. Cod. membr. 
f. 86. There is a very old metrical romance 
on this fubjedl, ibid. MSS. Harl. 527. i. 
f. 1. Cod. membr. 410. ^ 15 E. vi. 4. 


136 THE H I 3 T O R Y O F 

champion in Leonine rhyme. And I cannot help mention- 
ing, that they have in verfe Vifions of Oddegir the Dane in the 
kingdom of Fairy ^ " Vifions d'Ogeir le Danois au Royaume de 
*^ Faerie en vers Francois," printed at Paris in 1548 \ 

On the Trojan ftory, the French have an antient poem, 
at lead not pofterior to the thirteenth century, entitled Ro- 
man de 'Troye, written by Benoit de Sain6l More. As this 
author appears not to have been known to the accurate 
Fauchett, nor la Croix du Maine j I will cite the exordium, 
efpecially as it records his name ; and implies that the piece is 
tranflated from the Latin, and that the fubjecSl was not then, 
common in French. 

Cette efloire n'eft pas ufee, 
N'en gaires livres n'eft trouvee: 
La retraite ne fut encore 
Mais Beneoit de fante More, 
L' a tranflate, et fait et dit, 
Et a fa main les mots ecrit. 

He mentions his own name again in the body of the work, 
and at the end. 

Je n'en fait plus ne plus en ditj 
Beneoit qui c'eft Roman fit "'. 

Du Cange enumerates a metrical manufcript romance on 
this fubjeft by Jaques Millet, entitled De la DeJl?'ii5lion de 
I'roie ". Montfaucon, whofe extenfive enquiries nothing 
could efcape, mentions Dares Phrigius tranflated into French 
verfe, at Milan, about the twelfth century °. We find alfo, 
among the royal manufcrlpts at Paris, Di6lys Cretenfis, 

' 8vo. There is alfo VHifiolre du preux ^ See M. Galland ut fupr. p. 425. 

Meur'vin fils d'Ogier le Danois. PariC " Gloff. Lat. Ind. Aut. p. cxciii, 

J 3 59. 4to. And 1540. 8vo. ° IVlonum. Fr. i. 374. 



tranflated into French verfe ^. To this Hibjeft, although 
ahnort equally belonging to that of Charlemagne, we may 
alfo refer a French romance in verfe, written by Philipes 
Moufques, canon and chancellor of the church of Tournay. 
It is in fa6l, a chronicle of France : but the author, who 
does not chufe to begin quite fo high as Adam and Eve, nor 
yet later than the Trojan war, opens his hiftory with the 
rape of Helen, palles on to an ample defcription of the 
fiege of Troy ; and, through an exa£l detail of all the great 
events which fucceeded, condu<9:s his reader to the year 1240. 
This work comprehends all the fi6lions of Turpin's Char- 
lemagne, with a variety of other extravagant ftories difperfed 
in many profeffed romances. But it preferves numberlefs cu- 
rious particulars, which throw confiderable light on hifto- 
rical fa6ls. Du Cange has colle6led from it all that concerns 
the French emperors of Conftantinople, which he has printed 
at the end of his entertaining hiftory of that city. 

It was indeed the fafhion for the hiftorians of thefe times, 
to form fuch a general plan as would admit all the abfur- 
dities of popular tradition. Connection of parts, and uni- 
formity of fubjeft, were as little fludied as truth. Ages of 
ignorance and fuperftition are more aife6led by the marvel- 
lous than by plain fafts ; and believe what they find written, 
without difcernment or examination. No man before the 
fixteenth century prefumed to doubt that the Francs derived 
their origin from Francus, a fon of Hc6lor ; that the Spa- 
niards were defcended from Japhet, the Britons from Brutus, 
and the Scotch from Fergus. Vincent de Beauvais, w^ho lived 
under Louis the ninth of France, and who, on account of 
his extraordinary erudition, was appointed preceptor to that 
king's fons, very gravely clafTes archbifliop Turpin's Char- 
' lemagne among the real hiftories, and places it on a level 
with Suetonius and Cefar. He was himfelf an hiilorian, 

P See Montf. Catal. MSS. ii. p. 1669. 

Vol. I. T and 


and has left a large hiilory of the world, fraught with a 
variety of reading, and of high repute in the middle ages > 
but edifying and entertaining as this work might have been 
to his cotemporaries, at prefent it ferves only to record their 
prejudices, and to chara6terife their credulity "*. 

Hercules and Jafon, as I have before hinted, were involved 
in the Trojan ftory by Guido de Colonna, and hence became 
familiar to the romance writers '. The Hercules, the Thefeus, 
and the Amazons of Boccacio, hereafter more particularly 
mentioned, came from this fource. I do not at prefent re- 
coiled any old French metrical romances on thefe fubje61:s, 
but prefume that there are many. Jafon feems to have vied 
with Arthur and Charlemagne ; and fo popular was his 
expedition to Colchos, or rather fo firmly believed, that in 
honour of fo refpe6lable an adventure, a duke of Burgundy 
inftituted the order of the Golden Fleece^ in the year 1468. 
At the fame time his chaplain Raoul le Feure illuflrated the 
flory which gave rife to this magnificent inftitution, in 
a prolix and elaborate hiftory, afterwards tranflated by 
Caxton *. But I mufl not forget, that among the royal 
manufcripts in the Mufeum, the French romance of Hercules 
occurs in two books, enriched with numerous antient paint- 
ings '. Pertonape and Tpomedon^ in our Prologue, feem to be 
Parthenopeus and Hippomedon, belonging to the Theban 
flory, and mentioned, I think, in Statins. An Englifh ro- 
mance in verfe, called Childe Ippomedone, will be cited here- 
after, mofl probably tranflated from the French. 

^ He flourifhed about 1260. war. Wanl. Antiquit. Septentr. p. 315. 

^ The Trojomanna Saga, a Scandic col. i. 

manufcript at Stockholm, feems to be pof- ^ See Obfervat. on Spenfer's Fairy Queen, 

teriour to Guide's publication. It begins i. § v. P. 176. feq. Montfaucon mentions 

with Jafon and Hercules, and their voyage Medea et Jafonis HiJIoria a Guidonc de Co- 

to Colchos: proceeds to the rape of He- liimna. Catal. MSS. Bibl. Coiflin. ii. p. 

len, and ends with the fiege and dellruc- 1109. — 818. 

tion of Troy. It celebrates all the Gre- ' 17 E, ii. 

-cian and Aiiatic heroes concerned in that . 



. The conquefts of Alexander the great were celebrated by- 
one Simon, in old Pi6lavian or Limofm, about the twelfth 
century. This piece thus begins : 

Chanfon voil dis per ryme et per Leoin 
Del fil Filippe lo roy de Macedoin ". 

An Italian poem on Alexander, called T^rionfo Mag?io, was 
prefented to Leo the tenth, by Dominicho Falugi Ancifeno, 
in the year 1521. Crefcimbeni fays it was copied from a 
Provencial romance '^ But one of the mofc valuable pieces 
of the old French poetry is on the fubject of this vi6lorious 
monarch, entitled, Roman d' Alexandre. It has been called the 
fecond poem now remaining in the French language, and 
was written about the year 1200. It was confeiledly tranf- 
lated from the Latin ; but it bears a nearer refemblance to 
Simeon Seth's romance, than to Quintus Curtius. It was 
the confederated performance of four writers, who, as 
Fauchett exprefTes himfelf, were ajfociez en leur jonglerie ^ 
Lambert li Cors, a learned civilian, began the poem j and 
it was continued and completed by Alexander de Paris, John 
le Nivelois, and Peter de Saint Cloll \ The poem is clofed 
with Alexander's will. This is no imagination of any of 
our three poets, although one of them was a civil lawyer. 
Alexander's will, in which he nominates lueceifors to his 
provinces and kingdom, was a tradition commonly received, 
and is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, and Ammianus Mar- 

" Fauch. p. 77. ^ Fauchett, Rec. p. 83. 
. ^ Iftor. Volg. Poef. i, iv. p. 332. In the >" Fauch.^tt, ibid. Monf. Gall.nnd men- 
royal nianufcripts there is a French poem tions a French romance in verfe, unknown 
t\\'i\\\<i^ La P'tngeaunce CiU graunt Alexandre. to Fauchett, and cndtied Roman dWUhys 
19 D. i. 2. Brit. Muf. I am not fure whe- et de Frcphylias, nriuen by one Alexander, 
ther or no it is not a portion of the French whom he fuppofes to be th:s Ale.\?.nder 
Alexander, mentioned below, written by of Paris. Mem. Lit. iii. p. 429. edit. Amil, 
Jehqn li Nivelois. It is ofcen cited by Carpentier, Suppl.Cang. 

T 2 cellinus. 


cellinus '. I know not whether this work was ever printed. 
It is voluminous ; and in the Bodleian library at Oxford is 
a vafl folio manufcript of it on vellum, v/hich is of great 
antiquity, richly decorated, and in high prefervation \ The 
margins and initials exhibit, not only fantaftic ornaments 
and illuminations exquifitely finifhed, but alfo pi6lures exe- 
cuted with fmgular elegance, expreffing the incidents of the 
ftory, and difplaying the fafliion of buildings, armour, drefs, 
mufical inftruments ", and other particulars appropriated to 
the times. At the end we read this hexameter, which points 
out the name of the fcribe. 

Nomen fcriptoris eft Thomas plenus amoris. 

Then follows the date of the year in which the tranfcript 
was completed, viz. 1338. Afterwards there is the name 
and date of the illuminator, in the following colophon, writ- 
ten in golden letters. '' Che livre fu perfais de la enlumi- 
" niere an xviii". jour davryl par Jehan de grife Fan de 
" grace m.ccc.xliiii. "' Hence it may be concluded, that the 
illuminations and paintings of this fuperb manufcript, which 
were moft probably begun as foon as the fcribe had finifned 
his part, took up fix years : no long time, if we confider the 
attention of an artift to ornaments fo numerous, fo various, 
fo minute, and fo laboriouily touched. It has been fuppofed, 
that before the appearance of this poem, the Romans^ or 
thofc pieces which celebrated Gests, were conftantly com- 
pofed in ftiort verfes of lix or eight fyilables : and that in 
this Roman d' Alexandre verfes of twelve fyilables were firft 
ufed. It has therefore been imagined, that the verfes called 
AlexandrixNes, the prefent French heroic meafure, took 

^ See Fabric. Bibl. Gr. c. iii. 1, viii. " The bifhop of Gloucefter has a moft 

p. 205. beautiful French manufcript on vellum of 

a MSS. Bodl. B. 264. fol. Mnrt d' Arthur, ornamented in the fame 

•* The moft frequent of thefe are organs, manner. It was a prefent from Vertue the 

bagpipes, lutes, and trumpets. engraver. 



their rife from this poemi Alexander being the hero, and 
Alexander the chief of the four poets concerned in the 
work. That the name, fome centuries afterwards, might 
take place in honour of this celebrated and early effort of 
French poetry, I think is very probable 5 but that verfcs of 
twelve fyllables made their firft appearance in this poem, is a 
do6lrine, which, to fay no more, from examples already pro- 
duced and examined, is at leaft ambiguous ^ In this poem, 
Gadifer, hereafter mentioned, of Arabian lineage, is a very 
confpicuous champion. 

Gadifer fu moult preus, d'un Arrabi lignage. 

A rubric or title of one of the chapters is, " Comment 
*' Alexander fuit mys en un vefal de vooire pour veoir le 
" merveiles, &;c." This is a paffage already quoted from 
Simeon Seth's romance, relating Alexander's expedition to 
the bottom of the ocean, in a veffel of glafs, for the purpofe 
of infpefting fiflies and fea monflers. In another place,, 
from the fame romance, he turns ailronomer, and foars to 
the moon by the help of four gryphons. The caliph is fre- 
quently mentioned in this piece ; and Alexander, like Char- 
lemagne, has his twelve peers. 

Thefe were the four reigning ffories of romance. On 
which perhaps Englifh pieces, tranflated from the French, 
exifled before or about the year 1300. But there are fome 
other Englifli romances mentioned in the prologue of 
Richard Cueur de Lyon, which we likewife probably re- 
ceived from the French in that period, and on which I iTiall 
here alfo enlarge. 

Beuves de Hanton^ or Sir Beavis of Soufhampton^ is a 
French romance of coniiderable antiquity, although the hero 
is not older than the Norman conqueil. It is alluded to in 

' See Pref. Le Roman ds la Ro/e, par Monf. L'Abbe Lenglet, I. p. xxxvi. 





our Englifla romance on this ftory, which will again be 
cited, and at large. 

Forth the! yode fo faith the boke^. 
And again more exprefsly, 

Under the bridge wer fixty belles. 
Right as the Romans telles ^ 

The Romans is the French original. It is called the Romance 
of Beuves de Hanton^ by Pere Labbe ^. The very ingenious 
Monficur de la Curne de lainte Palaye mentions an antient 
French romance in profe, entitled Beujres de Hanton ''* Chau- 
cer mentions Bevis, with other famous romances, but whe- 
ther in French or Englifh is uncertain ^ Beuves of Hantonne 
was printed at Paris in 1502 ^. Afcapart was one of his 
■giants, a charafter ' in very old French romances. Bevis 
was a Saxon chieftain, who feems to have extended his 
dominion along the fouthern coafts of England, which he 
is faid to have defended againfl the Norman invaders. He 
lived at Downton in Wiltfliire. Near Southampton is an 
artificial hill called Bevis Mounts on which was probably a 
fortrefs "\ It is pretended that he was earl of Southampton. 
His fword is fliewn in Arundel caflle. This piece was evi- 
dently written after the crufadesj as Bevis is knighted by 
the king of Armenia, and is one of the generals at the fiege 
of Damafcus. ., 

Guy Earl of Warwick is recited as a French romance by 
Labbe ". In the Britifh Mufeum a metrical hiftory in very 
old French appears, in which Felicia, or Felice, is called the 

" Sign P. ii. ^ Signat. E. Iv. 
s Nov. Bib), p. 334. edit. 1653. 
^ Mem. Lit. xv. 582. 410. 
* Rim. Thop. 
*' 4to. Percy's Ball, iii, 217. 

"^ Selden's Drayton. Polyolb. f. iii. p. 37. 

"^ It is now inclofed in the beautiful gar- 
dens of General Sir John Mordaunt, and 
gi e; name to his feat. 

" Ubi fupr. 




daughter of an earl of Warwick, and Guido, or Guy of 
Warwick, is the fon of Seguart the earl's fteward. The 
manufcript is at prefent imperfeft °. Montfaucon mentions 
among the royal manufcripts at Paris, Roman de Guy et 
Beiivcs de Hanton. The latter is the romance lafl mentioned. 
Again, Le Livre de Guy de Warivick et de Harold d'Ardenne ^. 
This Plarold d'Arden is a diflinguifhed warriour of Guy's 
hiflory, and therefore his atchievements fometimes form a 
feparate romance -, as in the royal manufcripts of the Britifli 
Mufeum, where we find Le Romant de Herolt Dardenne ^ In 
the Engliili romance of Guy, mentioned at large in its 
proper place, this champion is called Syr Heraude of Arderne\ 
At length this favourite fubjecl formed a large profe ro- 
mance, entitled, Guy de Warwick Chevalier d'Angleterre et de la 
belle fille Felix Jamie ^ and printed at Paris in 1525 '. Chaucer 
mentions Guy's flory among the Ro?naunces of P?is ' : and it 
is alluded to in the Spanifli romance of T'lra^zte II Bla?2co, or 
'Tlraiite the White, fuppofed to have been written not long 
after the year 1430 ". This romance was compofed, or 
perhaps enlarged, after the crufades ; as we find, that Guy's 
redoubted encounters with Colbrond the Danifh giant, with 
the monfler of Dunfmore heath, and the dragon of Nor- 
thumberland, are by no means equal to fome of his at- 
chievements in the holy land, and the trophies which he 
won from the foldan under the command of the emperor 

The romance of Sidrac, often entitled, Le Llvere Sydrac 
le phllofophe le quel houi appele le llvere de le funta?2e de tctes 
Sciences, appears to have been very popular, from the prefent 
frequency of its manufcripts. But it is rather a romance of 
Arabian philofophy than of chivalry. It is a fyflem of 
natural knowledge, and particularly treats of the virtues of 

" MSS. Harl. 3775, 2. «■ Sign. L. ii. verf. 

' Catal. MSS. p. 792. = Fol. And again, ib. i q '.6. 410^ 

« 15 E. vi. 8. fol. » Rim. Thop. " Percy's Ball. iii. ico, 



plants. Sidrac, the philofopher of this fyftem, was aftro- 
nomer to an eaftern king. He lived eight hundred and forty- 
feven years after Noah, of whofe book of aftronomy he was 
pofTefTed. He converts Bocchus, an idolatrous king of India, 
to the chriftian faith, by whom he is invited to build a 
mighty tower againft the invafions of a rival king of India. 
But the hiftory, no lefs than the fubjeft of this piece, difplays 
the flate, nature, and migrations of literature in the dark 
ages. After the death of Bocchus, Sidrac's book fell into 
the hands of a Chaldean renowned for piety. It then fuccef- 
fively becomes the property of king Madian, Namaan the 
Alfyrian, and Grypho archbifhop of Samaria. The latter had 
a priefl named Demetrius, who brought it into Spain, and 
here it was tranllated from Greek into Latin. - This tranila- 
tion is faid to be made at Toledo, by Roger de Palermo, a 
minorite friar, in the thirteenth century A king of Spain 
then commanded it to be tranllated from Latin into Arabic, 
and fent it as a moit valuable prefent to Emir Elmomenim, 
lord of Tunis, it was next given to Frederick the Second, 
emperor of Germany, famous in the crufades. This work, 
which is of confiderable length, was tranllated into Eng- 
lifli verfe, and will be mentioned on that account again. 
Sidrac is recited as an eminent philofopher, with Seneca 
and king Solomon, in the Marchaunf s Second tale, afcribed 
to Chaucer '\ 

It is natural to conclude, that moft of thefe French ro- 
mances were current in England, either in tlie French ori- 
ginals, which were well underflood at leaft by the more 
polite readers, or elfe by tranilation or imitation, as I have 
before hinted, when the romance of Richaj'd Ciier dc Lyon, 
in whofe prologue they are recited, was tranflated into 
Englifli. That the latter was the cafe as to fome of them, 

^ Urr. p. 6i6. V. 1932. There is an old tranflation of Sidjiac into Dutch. MSS. 
Marfliall, Bibh Bodl. 31. fol. 





at leaft, wc lliall foon produce a6lual proofs. A writer, who 
has confidered thefe matters with much penetration and judg- 
ment, obferves, that probably from the reign of our Richard 
the firfl, we are to date that rem.arkable intercommunica- 
tion and mutual exchange of compofitions which we difcover 
to have taken place at fome early period between the French 
and Englifli minflrels. The fame fet of phrafes, the fame 
fpecies of chara6ters, incidents, and adventures, and often 
the identical flories, being found in the metrical romances 
of both nations ". From clofe connexion and conftant in- 
tercourfe, the traditions and the champions of one kingdom 
were equally known in the other : and although Bevis and 
Guy wer^ Englifli heroes, yet on thefe principles this cir- 
cumftance by no means deflroys the fuppofition, that their 
atchievements, although perhaps already celebrated in rude 
Englifli fongs, might be firfl wrought into romance by the 
French ^. And it feems probable, that we continued for 
fome time this pra6lice of borrowing from our neighbours. 
Even the titles of our oldefl romances, fuch as Sir Blanda- 

^ Percy's EiT. on Anc. Engl. Minllr. 

p. 12. 

>' Dugdale relates, tliat in tJie reign of 
Henry the fourth, about the year 1410, 
a lord Beauchamp travelling into the eaft, 
was hofpitably received at Jerufalcm by 
the Soldan's lieutenant: " Who hearing 
" that he was defcended from the famous 
" Guy of Warwick, nvbo/e flory they had 
" in books of their c^un la?:guage, invited 
" him to his palace, and royally feailing 
*' him, prefented him with three precious 
*' Hones of great value, befides divers 
" cloaths of filk and gold given to his fcr- 
** vants." Baron, i. p. 24.3. col. i. This 
ftory is delivered on the credit of John 
Roufe, the traveller's cotemporary. Yet it 
is not fo very improbable that Guy's hifto- 
ry fhould be a book among the Saracens, if 
we confider, that Conftantinople was not 
oaly a central and connefting point between 

Vol. I. 

the eaftern and weftern world, but that the 
French in the thirteenth century had ac- 
quired an eiiablifhment there under Bald- 
win earl of Flanders : that the French lan- 
guage muft have been known in Sicily, Je- 
rufalem, Cyprus, and Antioch, in confe- 
quence of the conquefts of Robert Guifcard, 
Hugo le Grand, and Godfrey of Bulloigne : 
and that pilgrimages into the holy land 
were exceffively frequent. It is hence eafy 
to fuppofe, that the French imported many 
of their ftories or books of this fort into the 
eaft; which being thus underftood. there, 
and fuiting the genius of the orientals, 
were at length tranflated into their language. 
It is remarkable, that the Greeks at Con- 
ftantinople, in the twelfth century, and 
fince, called all the Europeans by the name 
of Franks ; as the Turks do to this day. 
Sec Seld. Polyolb. §. viii, p. 130. 





moure. Sir I'riamoure, Sir 'Eglamoiire of Artoys ^^ La Mort d^ 
Arthur^ with many more, betray their French extraftion. It 
is likewife a prefumptive argument in favour of this affer- 
tion, that we find no profe romances in our language, before 
Caxton tranflated from the French the Hiilory of Troy, the 
Life of Charlemagne, the Hiilories of Jafon, Paris, and Vy- 
enne % the Death of King Arthur, and other profe pieces of 
chivalry : by which, as the profeffion of minftrelfy decayed 
and gradually gave way to a change of manners and cuf- 
toms, romances in metre were at length imperceptibly fuper- 
feded, or at leafl grew lefs in ufe as a mode of entertainment 
at public feftivities. 

Various caufes concurred, in the mean time, to multiply 
books of chivalry among the French, and to give them a 
fuperiority over the Englifh, not only in the number but 
in the excellence of thofe compofitions. Their barons lived 
in greater magnificence. Their feudal fyftem flouriflied 011 
a more fumptuous, extenfrve, and lafling eflablifliment. 
Schools were inftituted in their caftles for initiating the 
young nobility in the rules and praftice of chivalry. Their 
tilts and tournaments were celebrated with a higher degree, 
of pomp i and their ideas of honour and gallantry were more, 
exaggerated and refined. 

^ In our Englifli Syr Eglamour ok 
Artoys, there is this reference to the 
French from which it was tranflated. Sign. 
E.i. ^ 

His own mother there he wedde, 
InRoMAUNCE as we rede. 

Again, fol. ult. 

In RoMAUNCE this cronycle ys. 

The authors of thefe pieces often refer to 
their original, juft as Ariofto mentions 
Turpin for his voucher. 

'■' But I muH not omit here that Du Cange 

recites a metrical French romance in manu- 
fcript, Le Ritnan de Girard de Vienne, writ- 
ten by Bertrand le Clerc. GlofT. Lat. i. 
Ind. Auct. p. cxciii. Madpx has printed 
the names of feveral French romances, 
found in the reign of Edward the third, 
among which one on this fubjeft occurs. 
Formul. Anglic, p. i?. Compare 0/^r- 
'vations o?i Spenfer's Fairy ^een, vol. ii. 
§. viii. p. 43. Among the royal manu- 
fcripts in the Britilh Mufeum, there is in 
verfe Hiffoire de Gyrart de Vianne et de fes 
freres, 20 D. xi. 2. This manufcript was 
perhaps written before the year 1 300. 



We may add, what indeed has been before incidentally 
i^marked, that their troubadours v/ere the iirfl: writers of 
metrical romances. But by what has been here advanced, I 
do not mean to infmuate v/ithout any reftri6tions, that the 
French entirely led the way in theie compohtions. Un- 
doubtedly the Provencial bards contributed much to the 
progrels of Italian literature. Raim.ond the fourth of Ar- 
ragon, count of Provence, about the year 1220,, a lover and 
a judge of letters, invited to his court the moll: celebrated of 
the fongilers who profefled to polifli and adorn the Pro- 
vencial language by various forts of poetry ^ Charles the 
firfl, his fon-in-law, and the inheritor of his virtues and 
dignities, conquered Naples, and carried into Italy a tafte 
for the Provencial literature. At Florence efpecially this 
tafte prevailed, where he reigned many years with great 
fplendour, and where his fuccelTors refided. Soon afterwards 
the Roman court was removed to Provence '. Flitherto the 
Latin language had only been in ufe. The Provencial writers 
eflabliflied a common diale6l : and their examples convinced 
other nations, that the modern languages were no lefs adapted 
to compofition than thofe of antiquity \ They introduced 
a love of reading, and diffufed a general and popular talle 
for poetry, by writing in a language intelligible to the ladies 
and the people. Their verfes being conveyed in a familiar 
tongue, became the chief amufement of princes and feudal 
lords, whofe courts had now begun to afTume an air of 

'' Giovan. Villani, Iflor. 1. vi. c. 92. Latin. But finding that he could not fo 

"^ Villani acquaints us, that Brunetto efFcclually in that language imprefs his fa- 

Latini, Dante's mafler, was the firil who tiiical llrokes and political maxims on the 

attempted to polifh the Florentines by im- laity, or illiterate, he altered his mind, 

proving their talte and ftyle ; which he did and pubUflied thofe pieces in Italian Kad 

by writing his grand work the Tesoro in Petrarch written his Africa, his Eclogues, 

Provencial. He died in 1294. See Villan. and his prole coiTipolitions in Italian, the 

ibid. 1. ix. c. 135. literature of his :ouri try would much fooner 

^ Dante defigned at firft that his Infenic, have arrived at perfeftion. 
and Treatife on monarchy, fhould appear in 

U 2 greater 



greater brilliancy : a circumflance which necellarily ga^re 
great encouragement to their profeffion, and by renderin 
thefe arts of ingenious entertainment univerfally fafliionable, 
imperceptibly laid the foundation of polite literature. From 
thefe beginnings it were eafy to trace the progrefs of poetry 
to its perfection, through John de Meun in France, Dante 
in Italy, and Chaucer in England. 

This praife muft undoubtedly be granted to the Provencial 
poets. But in the mean time, to recur to our original ar- 
gument, we fliould be cautious of aflerting in general and 
indifcriminating terms, that the Provencial poets were the 
firft writers of metrical romance : at leaft we fhould afcer- 
tain with rather more precifion than has been commonly 
ufed on this fubject, how far they may claim this merit. 
I am of opinion that there were two forts of French trou- 
badours, who have not hitherto been fufficiently diflin- 
guiflied. If we diligently examine their hiftory, we fliall 
find that the poetry of the firft troubadours confifted in 
fatires, moral fables, allegories, and fentimental fonnets. So 
early as the year 1180, a tribunal called the Court of Love, 
was inflituted both in Provence and Picardy, at which quef- 
tions in gallantry were decided. This inftitution furnifhed 
eternal matter for the poets, who threw the claims and argu- 
ments of the different parties into verfe, in a ftyle that 
afterwards led the way to the fpiritual converfatioiis of Cyrus 
and Clelia *. Fontenelle does not fcruple to acknowledge, 
that gallantry was the parent of French poetry ^ But to 
fing romantic and chivalrous adventures was a very different 
tafk, and required very different talents. The troubadours, 
therefore who compofed metrical romances form a different 
fpecies, and ought always to be confidered feparately. And 

* This part of their chara6ler will be Infilled upon more at large when we come to fpeak: 
of Chaucer. 

* Theatr. Fr. p. 13^ 




this latter clafs feems to have commenced at a later period, 
not till after the crufades had effe6led a great change in the 
manners and ideas of the weftern world. In the mean time, 
I hazard a conjecture. Cinthio Giraldi fuppofes, that the art 
of the troubadours, commonly called the Gay Science^ was 
firft communicated from France to the ItaHans, and after- 
wards to the Spaniards ^. This perhaps may be true : but at 
the fame time it is highly probable, as the Spaniards had 
their Juglares or convivial bards very early,, as from long, 
connection they were immediately and intimately acquainted 
with the fictions of the Arabians, and as they were naturally 
fond of chivalry, that the troubadours of Provence in great 
meafure caught this turn of fabling from Spain. The 
communication, to mention no other obvious means of 
intercourfe in an affair of this nature, was eafy through 
the ports of Toulon and Marfeilles, by which the two na- 
tions carried on from early times a conftant commerce^ 
Even the French critics themfelves univerfally allow, that 
the Spaniards, having learned rhyme from the Arabians, 
through this very channel conveyed it to Provence. Taffo 
preferred Amadh de Gaiil^ a romance originally written in 
Spain, by Vafco Lobeyra, before the year 1300'', to the moft 
celebrated pieces of the Provencial poets '. But this is a 
fubje6l which will perhaps receive illuftration from a writer 
of great tafte, talents, and induftry, Monfieur de la Curne 
de Sainte Palaye, who will foon oblige the world with an 
ample hiftory of Provencial poetry ; and whofe refearches 
into, a kindred fubje6l, already publifhed, have opened a 
new and extenfive field of information concerning the man- 
ners, inftitutions, and literature of the feudal ages\ 

s Apud Huet, Orig. Rom. p. 108. ' Difc. del Poem Eroic. 1. ii. p. 45. 46. 

'' Nic. Antonius, Bibl. Hifpan. Vet. '' SteMemoires fur Tancienne Cheijaleriep 

torn. ii. I. viii. c. 7. num.. 291. &c. Paris, 1759. ii. torn. izmo. 




A R I O U S matters fuggefted by the Prologue of 
Richard cueur de Lyon, cited in the laft fe6lion, 
have betrayed us into a long digrefiion, and interrupted the 
regularity of our annals. But I could not ncgle6l fo fair an 
opportunity of preparing the reader for thofe metrical tales, 
which having acquired a new cafl of fiction from the cru- 
fadeSj and a magnificence of manners from the encreafe of 
chivalry, now began to be greatly multiplied, and as it were 
profefledly to form a feparate fpecies of poetry. I now 
therefore refume the feries, and proceed to give fome fpeci- 
mens of the Englifh metrical romances which appeared be- 
fore or about the reign of Edward the fecond : and although 
mofl of thefe pieces continued to be fung by the minftrels 
in the halls of our magnificent anceflors for fome centuries 
afterwards, yet as their firft appearance may mofl probably 
be dated at this period, they properly coincide in this place 
with the tenour of our hiftory. In the mean time, it is 
natural to fuppofe, that by frequent repetition and fucceffive 
changes of language during many generations, their original 
fimplicity mufl have been in fome degree corrupted. Yet 
fome of the fpecimens are extracted from m.anufcripts writ- 
ten in the reign of Edward the third. Others indeed from 
printed copies, where the editors took great liberties in ac- 
commodating the language to the times. However in fuch 
as may be fuppofed to have luffered moft from depravations 
of this fort, the fubflance of the ancient flyle ftill remains, 
and at leafl the flru6lure of the flory. On the whole, we 
mean to give the reader an idea of thofe popular heroic tales 
in verfe, profefledly written for tlie harp, which began to *be 
multiplied among us about the beginning of the fourteenth 




century. We will begin with the romance of Richard 
cuEUR DE Lyon, already mentioned. 

The poem opens with the marriage of Richard's father, 
Henry the fecond, with the daughter of Carbarryne, a king 
of Antioch. But this is only a lady of romance. Henry 
married Eleanor the divorced queen of Louis of France. The 
minftrels could not conceive any thing lefs than an eaflerii 
princefs to be the mother of this magnanrmous hero. 

His barons him redde '^ 

That they graunted hem a wyfe to wedde,. 

Haftily he fent his fonde 

Into many a divers londe, 

The fayreft woman that was on lyve 

They fliolde bringe him to wyve. 

The melTengers or embafladors, in their voyage, meet a fhip" 
adorned like Cleopatra's galley. 

Suche ne fawe they never none. 
For it was fo gay begone 
Every nayle with gold ygrave 
Of pure gold was his iklave ", 
Her maft was of yvory, 
Of famyte her fayle wytly. 
Her ropes al of whyte fylke, 
As whyte as ever was ony mylke. 
The noble fhyp was wythout 
With clothes of gold fpred about, 
And her loft " and her v>^yndlace ^, 
Al of gold depaynted was : 
In the Ihyppe there were dyght 
Knyghtes and lordes of myght,, 

3 Advifed. *> Rudder. Clavus. " Deck. «• Windlafs. 



And a lady therein was 

Bryght as fonne thorowe the glas. 

Her men abrode gon ftonde 

And becked them with her honde. 

And prayed them for to dwell 

And theyr aventures to tell.— — 

" To dyverfe londes do we wende 

" For kynge Harry hath us fende 

" For to feche hym a quene, 

" The fay reft that myght on erthe bene." 

Up arofe a kynge of chayre 

With that word, and fpake fayre. 

The chayre was of carbunkell ftone, 

Suche fa we they never none, 

And other dukes hym befyde. 

Noble men of moche pryde, 

And welcomed the mefTengers every chone. 

Into the fliippe they gan gone. 

Clothes of fylke wer fprad on borde, 

The kyng then anon badde. 

As it is in ryme radde ", 

That his doughter wer forthe fet 

And in a chayre by hym fet, 

Trompettes bigan to blowe. 

She was fet in a throwe ^ 

With XX knygtes her aboute 

And double fo many of ladyes ftoute. 

Whan thei had done their mete 
Of adventures they bygyn to fpeke. 
The kyng them told in his reafon. 
How it cam hym in a vyfyon. 
In his lond that he came fro 
In to Engelond for to go 


^ i. e. The French original. * Immediately. 



And hys doughter that was hym dere 
For to wende with hym in fere ^, 
And in this manner we hi dyght 
Unto your londe to wende ryght. 
Then anfwerede a meflengere, 
His name was cleped Barnagere, 
" Ferther we will feeke nought 
" To my lorde flie fhal be brought." 

They foon arrive in England, and the lady is lodged in the 
tower of London, one of the royal caftles. 

The mefiengers the kyng have tolde 

Of that lady fayre and bolde 

There fhe lay in the toure 

The lady that was whyt as floure -, 

Kyng Harry gan hym dyght 

With erles, barons, and many a knyght, 

Ayenfl that ladye for to wende. 

For he was courteys and hende : 

The damofeil to loride was ladde 

Clothes of golde bifore her fpradde. 

The meiTengers on eche a fyde, 

And mynyftrelis of moche pryde. 

Kyng Harry liked her feynge 

That fayre lady, and her fader the kynge.— - 

To Weftminftir they went in fere 

Lordes, ladies, that ther were, 

Trompettes bigan for to blowe 

To mete ^ thei went in a throwe, &c. * 

The firfl: of our hero's atchievements in chivalry is at 
a fplendid tournament held at Salifbury. Clarendon near 
Saliibury was one of the king's palaces ^ - 

8 Company. ^ To dinner, ^ In the pipe-rolls of this king's reign, I 

' Sign. A, ii. — A. iiii. find the following articles relating to this 

Vol. I. X ancient 

J 54 


Kynge Rychard gan hym dyfguyfe 

In a full ftronge queyntyfe ' : 

He cam out of a valaye 

For to fe of theyr playe. 

As a knyght avanturous 

His atyre was orgulous ", 

Al together cole blacke 

Was his horfe without lacke. 

Upon his creft a raven floode 

That yaned " as he were wode. — 

He bare a Ihafte that was grete and flronge 

It was fourtene fote longe, 

And it was gret and fhoutej 

One or two inches aboute : 

The fyrft knyght that he ther mette 

Full egerly he hym grette, 

With a dint amyd the flielde 

His hors he bare downe in the feld, &c. * 


ancient palace, which has been already 
mentioned incidentally. Rot. Pip. i . Ric. i. 
*' WiLTES. Et in cariagio vini Regis a 
*' Clarendon ufque Woodeftoke, 34^. 4^/. 

per Br. Reg. Et pro ducendis :-'oo m. 

[marcis] a Sarefburia ufque Briftow, 7 s. 

4 a', per Br. Reg. Et pro ducendis 2500 
•* libris a Sarefburia ufque Gloceftriam, 
" 26s. lod. per Br. Reg. Et pro tonellis 
*' et clavis ad eofdem denarios. Et in ca- 
" riagio de 4000 marcis a Sarum ufque 
*' Suthanton, et pro tonellis et aliis necef- 
" fariis, 8/. et 1^. per Br. Reg." And 
again in the reign of Henry the third. Rot. 
Pip. 30. Hen. iii. " Wi.ltescire. Et 
•' in una marcelfia ad opus regis et regi- 
•' nse apud Clarendon cum duobus intcr- 
" cluforiis, et duabus cameris privatis, 
" hoflio veteris aulie amovendo in porticu, 
*' et de eadem aula camera facienda cum 
** camino et fencfliis, et camera priv'ata, 
** et quadam magna toquina quadrata, et 
*• aliis opera cionib us, contentis in Brevi, 

** Inceptis per eundem Nicolaiim et non^ 
" perfeftis, 526/. 16s. ^d. cb, per Br, 
*' Reg." Again, Rot. Pip. 39. Hen iii. 
*' SuDHAMT. Comp. Nc-vcsforeJIa-. Et ia 
" trigiiita railiaribus fcindub.rum [fhingles] 
*' faciend. in eadem forefta et c&riand. eaf- 
" dem ufque Clarendon ad domum regis 
" ibidem cooperiandam, 61. et i marc. 
•* per Br. Reg. Et in 30 .mill, fcindula- 
" rum faciend. in eadem, et cariand. ufque 
" Clarendon, 11/, io^." And again, in 
the fame reign the canons of Ivy church 
receive penfions for celebrating in the royal 
chapel there. Rot. Pip. 7. Hen. iii. 
" W'lLTEs. Et canonicis de monafteria 
•* ederofo miniilrantibus in Capella de 
" Clarendon. 35/. jcL ob." Stukeley 
is miilaken ia faying this place was built 
by king John. 

' See Du Canp-e, Gl. Eat. Cointi^e.. 

"' Proud, pompous. 

" Yawned. 

« Ibid. 

A battle- 


A battle- ax which Richard carried with him fi'om Eng- 
land into the holy land is thus defcribed. 

Kyng Rycharde I underftonde 
Or he went out of Engelonde 
Let him make an axe ^ for the nones 
To brake therewith the Sarafyns "^ bones. 
The heed was wroght right wele 
Therein was twenti bounde ' of ilele : 
And when he com into Cyprys londe 
The axe toke he in his honde 
All that he hytte he all to frapped 
The gryfions ' away fafte rapped. 
And the pryfon when he came to 
With his axe he fmote ryght tho 
Dores, barres, and iron chaynes, 6cc. ' 

This formidable axe is again mentioned at the fiege of 
Aeon, or Acre, the antient Ptolemais. 

Kyng Rycharde after anone ryght 
Towarde Acrys gan hym dyght, 
And as he fayled towarde Surrye ", 
He was warned of a fpye, 
How the folke of the hethen Law, 
A gret chayne thei had i drawe 

P Richard's battle-ax is alfo mentioned by ' The Byzantine Greeks are often called 

Bruiine,andon thisoccalion, Chron. p.159. GriiFones by the hiltcrians of the middle 

"> The crufades imported the phrafe yt« ages. See Du Cangc GiofT. Ville-IIard. 

Sifrrazionois, for any fharp eilgagement, P- 363. See alfo Rob. Brun. Chron. p 15 i. 

into the old French romances. — Thus in 157. 159. 160. 165. 171. 173. Wanley 

the Roman of Alexander, MSS. Bibl. fuppofes that the Gnjf^n in heraldry was 

Bodl. ut fupr. P. i. intended to iignify a Greek, or Saracen, 

rru^\ 1 11- r> ■■ ■ whom they thus reprefented under the 

IholomerleregretteetleplamtenGrijois, /:.,.,.« ^r /„ -.^.^-^^ a """-^ "*^ 

F^ ri;'T- ^„« o'nX- a- . 1.1 • ! ngure of an imagm?.rv eaftern monfter, 

£.t diit que s 11 cuiient o culz telz vms^t et ■ u- u -.i j 1 ' • I 

;■, ^ which never exuled but as an armorial 

11 nouseu/Tentfet un jiu Sarrazionois. ^t^vfj'^r, n ; 

oign. Kj. 1. 

■■ F. poundet " Syria, 

X 2 Over 


Over the haven of Acres fers 

Was faftened to two pyllers 

That no ihyppe fholde in wynne ''. — 

Therfore feven yers and more 

All cryften kynges laye thore 

And with hongre fuffre payne 

For lettyng of that fame chayne. 

Whan kyng Rycharde herde that tydinge 

For joye his herte bigan to fprynge, 

A fwyfte ftrong galey he toke. 

T^renchemere '', io faith the boke. — 

The galey yede as fv/ift 

As ony fowle by the lyfte ^ ^ 

And kynge Rycharde that was fo goode^^ 

With his axe afore the fhippe ftoode 

And whan he cam to the chayne, 

With his axe he fmote it a twayne % 

That all the barons verament 

Sayd it was a noble dent, 

An for joye of that dede 

The cuppes fafte aboute yede % 

With good wyne, pyment and clare, 

And failed towards Acrys citye. 

Kynge Rycharde out of his galye 

Let cafte wilde fire into the Ikye. 

His trompettes yede in his galye 

Men might here it to the ikye, 

Trompettes, home, and llialmys "^ 

The fea burnt al of fyre grekys '. 

'^ So Fabyan of Rofamond's bower, ^ A bird on wing, 

** that no creature, man or woman, myght ^ In two. Thus Rob. de jJrunne fays,. 

" luynne to her." i. e. go in, by contrao- '♦ he fondred the Sarazyns otuynne." p. 

tjon, Win. Chron. vol. i. p. 320. col. i. 574. He forced the Saracens into /iy« 

edit. 1533. parties. 

" Rob. Brun. Chron. p. 170. • Went. 

The kynge's owne galeie he cald it "^ Shawms. 

Trendhemare. * Sign. G. iii. 




T\\Q fyre grekys, or Grecian fire, feems to be a compofi- 
tion belonging to the Arabian chemiftry. It is frequently- 
mentioned by the Byzantine hiftorians, and was very much 
ufed in the wars of the middle ages, both by fea and land. It 
Was a fort of wild-fire, faid to be inextinguifhable by water, 
and chiefly ufed for burning fliips, againft which it was^ 
thrown in pots or phials by the hand. In land engagements 
it feems to have been difcharged by machines conilructed on 
purpofe. The oriental Greeks pretended that this artificial 
fire was invented by Callinicus, an archite6l of Helio- 
polis, under Conllantine ; and that Conftantine prohi- 
bited them from communicating the manner of making 
it to any foreign people. It was however in common ufe. 
among the nations confederated by the Byzantines : and 
Anna Commena has given an account of it's ingredients '', 
which were bitum.en, fulphui, and naptha. It is called y^/^ 
gregois in the French chronicles and romances. Our iri in fire 11, 
I believe, is fingular in faying that Richard fcattered this 
fire on Saladin's fhips : many m.onkifli hiftorians of the holy 
v/ar, in defcribing the fiege of Aeon, relate that it v/as em- 
ployed on that occafion, and many others, by the Saracens 
againft the Chriftians \ Procopius, in his hiftory of the 
Goths, calls it Medea's Oil, as if it had been a preparation^, 
ufed in the forceries of that enchantrefs ^ 

The quantity of huge battering rams and other military 
engines, now unknown, which Richard w^as faid to have 
tranfported into the holy land, was prodigious. The names 
of fome of them are given in another part of this romance ^ 

'' See Du Cange, Not. ad Joinvil. p 71. Among thefe were the Mategryjfon and ths 
And Gl. Lat. V. Ignis Gr^cus. Robynet. Sign. N. iii. The former of thefe 

^ See more particularly Chron. Rob. is thus defcribed. Sign. E. iiii. 

An^H 'tL? R-f ? ^"""^^^' ^^- P- ^5" I ^^ve a caftell I underftonde 

And Jomv. Hilt. L. p. ^q. 46. cz. q^. t j r » u r t? 1 j 

^ •' r jy t :> > 5 Is made of tembre of Englonde 

iyy' ,. With fyxe ftages full of tourelles 

s T"., Jr.^„ ',v..of-> r -v Well flourysfhed with cornelles, 8:z. 

6 1 wenty grete gynnes for the nones ' 

Kynge Richard fent for to call itoncs, &c. See Du Cange Not. Joinv. p. 68. Mate.- 




It is an hlfloiical faft, that Richard was killed by the French 
from the fhot of an arcubalifl, a machine which he often 
worked fkilfully with his own hands : and Guillaume le 
Briton, a Frenchman, in his Latin poem called Philippeis, 
introduces Atropos making a decree, that Richard fhoul4 
die by no other means than by a wound from this deftruc- 
tive mftrument ; the ufe of which, after it had been inter- 
difted by the pope in the year 1 139> he revived, and is fup- 
pofed to have fliewn the French in the crufades ^ 

Gynnes ^ he had of wonder wyfe, 
Mangenelles ' of grete quyentyfe ^, 
Arbiafl bowe made with gynne 
The holy land therewith to wynne ; 
Over all other utterly 
He had a myle ' of grete mayftry, ^ 
In the myddes of a iliyppe to ftonde 
Suche ne fawe they never in no londel 

GRyPFON is the Terror cr plny^ue of the 
Greeks. Du Cange, in his Gallo-Byzan- 
tine hiftory, mentions a cnftle of this name 
in Peloponnefus. Beneditl fays, that Ri- 
chard erefted a ftrong caftie, which he 
called Male-^ryffon, on the brow of a fteep ^ 
mountain without the walls of the city of 
Meffma in Sicily. Benedidl. Abb. p. 621. 
ed. Hearn. fub ann. 1190. Robert de 
Brvinne mentions this engine from our ro- 
mance. Chron. p. 157. 

The romancer it fais Richarde did make a 

On kalielle wife allwais wrought of tre ful 

wele. — 

In f:hip he ded it lede, &c. - 

He pele from that dai forward he cald it 


Pele is a houfe. y^^rchbifhop Turpin men- 
tions Charlemngne's ivondtn cajiles at the 
ficge of a city in France, cap ix. 

6 See Carpentitr's Suppl. Du Cangc, 

Lat. Gl. tom. i. p. 434. And Du Cangc 
ad Ann. Alex. p. 357. 

'' Engines. 

' See fupr. p. 157. It is obfervable, that 
Manganum, Mangonell, was not known 
amciJig the Roman military machines, but 
exilled firfl in Byzantine Greek Mc^^ir^i'oj', 
a circumftance which fcems to point out its 
inventors, at leaft to fhew that it belonged 
to the oriental art of war. It occurs often 
in the Byzantine Taftics, although at the 
fame tim.e it was perhaps derived from the 
Latin Ma h'.tia : yet the Romans do not ap- 
pear to have ufed in their v/ars fo formid- 
able and complicated an engine, as this is 
defcribed to have been in the writers of the 
dark ages. It was the capital machine of 
tlie wars of thofe ages. Du Cange in his 


tions a vaft edifice at Conilantinople in 
which the machines of war were kept. 
p. 155. 

" See fupr. p. 154. 1 Mill. 



Foure fayles were therto all newe 

Yelowe and grene rede and blewe. 

With canvas i layde all aboute 

Full coflly within and withoute. 

And all within ful of fyre 

Of torches made of wexe clere, 

Overth wart and endlonge, 

With fpryngelles «" of fyre they dyde lionde^ 

Grounde they neyther corne ne good, 

But robbed as thei were wood ; 

Out of their eyen cam red blode " . 

Before the trough one ther flode 

That all in blode was begone 

Such another was never none 

And homes he had upon his hede 

The Sarafyns of hym had grete drede °. 


"^ Efpringalles, Fr. engines. See Du 
Cange, Gl. Lat. Spingarda, Qu adrel- 
Lus. And Not. Joinv. p. 78. Perhaps he 
means pellets of tow dipped in the Grecian 
fire, which fometimes were thrown from a 
fort of mortar. Joinville fays, that the 
Greek fire thrown from a mortar looked 
like a huge dragon fiying through the air, 
and that at midnight the flaflies of it illu- 
minated the chriftian camp, as if it had 
been broad day. When Louis's army was 
encamped on the banks of the Thanis in 
Egypt, fays the fame curious hillorian, 
about the year 1249, they credted two 
cbafs chateib, or covered galleries, to iliel- 
ter their workmen, and at the end of them 
two if rois, or vaft moveable wooden towers, 
full of crofs-bow men who kept a continual 
difcharge on the oppofite ihore Eefides 
eighteen other new-invented engines for 
throwing ftones and bolts. But in one 
night, the deluge of Greek fire ejefted 
from the Saracen camp utterly deftroyed 
thefe enormous machines. This was a com- 
mon difafter ; but Joinville fays, that his 
pious monarch fometimes averted the dan- 
ger, by profirating himfelf on the ground, 

and invoking our Saviour with the appella-- 
tion of Beau Sire. p. 37. 39. 

" This device is thus related by Robert' 
of Erunnc, chron. p. 175. 176. 

Richard als fuithe did raife his engyns 

The Inglis wer than blythe, Normans and 
Fctevyns : 

In bargcis and galeis he fet mylnes to go. 

The failes, as men fais, fom were blak 
and bio, 

Som were rede and grene, the wynde about 
them blewe. — 

The flones were of Rynes, the noyfe dread- 
full and grete 

It afFraied the Sarazins, as leven the fyre 
out fchete. 

The noyfe was unride, «&c. 

Jijv:es is the river Rhine, whofe fhores or 
bottom fupplied the flones fliot from their 
military engines. The Normans, a bar- 
barous people, appear to have ufed ma- 
chines of immenfe and very artificial con- 
ftrudlion at the fiege of Paris in 885. See 
the laft note. And Vlt. Suladin. per Schul- 
tens, p. 135. 141. 167, &c. 
" Sign, ut fupr. 



The laft circumflance recalls a fiend-like appearance 
drawn by Shakefpeare ; in which, exclufive of the applica- 
tion, he has converted ideas of deformity into the true fub- 
lime, and rendered an image terrible, which in other hands 
would have probably been ridiculous. 

Methought his eyes 

Were two full moons, he had a thoufand nofes, 
Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged fea. 
It was fome fiend ^ 

At the touch of this powerful magician, to fpeak in Milton's 
language, " The griefly terror grows tenfold more dreadful 
*' and deform." 

The moving caflles defcribed by our minflrell, which feem 
to be fo many fabrics of romance, but are founded in real 
hiftory, afibrded fuitable materials for poets who deal in the 
marvellous. Accordingly they could not efcape the fabling 
genius of Talib, who has made them inftrurnents of en- 
chantment, and accommodated them, with great propriety, 
to the operations of infernal fpirits. 

At the fiege of Babylon, the foldan Saladin fends king 
Richard a horfe. The meflenger fays, 




Thou fayfl thy God is full of myght : 

Wilt thou graunte with fpere and fhelde, 

To detryve the ryght in the felde, 

With helme, hauberke, and brondes bryght. 

On flronge fledes gode and lyght, 

Whether ben of more power. 

Thy God almight or Jupiter ? 

And he fent me to fay this 

Yf thou wylt have an hors of his, 

P King Lear, iv. vi. 

" In 








" In all the londes that thou haft gone 
" Suche ne thou faweft never none: 
" Favell of Sypres, ne Lyard of Prys "^j 

Ben not at ned as he ys 5 

And yf thou wylte, this fame daye. 

He Ihall be brought the to affaye." 
Rycharde anfwered, " Thou fayeft well, 

Suche an horfe, by faynt Myghell, 

I wolde have to ryde upon. — 

Byddc hym fende that hors to me. 

And I fhall aftaye what they be, 

Yf he be trufti, withoute fayle, 

I kepe none other to me in batayle." 
The melTengers tho home wente, 
And told the fowdan in prefente, 
That Rycharde in the field wolde come hym unto : 
The ryche fowdan bade to com hym unto 
A noble clerke that coulde wel conjoure. 
That was a mayfter nygromanfoure ' : 
He commaunded, as I you telle, 
Thorugh the fende's myght of helle. 
Two ftrong fendes of the ayre 
In lykenes of two ftedes fayre 

"3 Horfes belonging to Richard, " Favel This was at the fiege of JafFe, as it is here 

*' of Cyprus, and Lyard of Paris." Ro- called. Fanjcll of Cyprus is again men- 

bert de Brunne mentions one of thefe tioned, Sign. O. ii. 
horfes, which he calls Phanuel. Chron. 

p. 17^. Favell of Cyprus is forth fet 

Sithen at Japhet was flayn Ph a n u e l his ^"^ ^" '^^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^"- 


The Romans 'telles gret pas ther of his ^^"^'f of Brunne fays that Saladin's bro- 

douhty dede. *"^^ ^-"^ ^^"S Ri-haraa horfe. Chron. p. 

This is our romance, viz. Sign. Q^iii. 


To hym gadered every chone He fent to king Richard a ftede for curteifie 

And ilevve Favell under hym. On of the bell reward that Vvas in paemie, 

Tho was Richard wrotli and grym. 

' Necromancer. 

Vol. I. Y Both 


Both lyke in hewe and here. 
As men fayd that ther were : 
No man fawe never none fyche 
That was one was a mare iUche, 
That other a colte, a noble ftede. 
Where that he wer in ony mede, 
(Were the knyght ' never fo bolde,) 
Whan the mare nye ' wolde, 
(That hym fholde holde ayenfl his wylle,) 
But foone he wolde go her tylle ", 
And kneel downe and fouke ^ his dame, 
Therewhyle the fowdan with fhame 
Sholde kynge Rychard quelle. 
All this an aungell gan him telle. 
That to hym came aboute mydnyght. 
Awake, he fayd, goddis knyght ; 
My lorde'' doth the to onderflonde 
" That the flial com on hors to londe, 
Fayre it is, of body ipyght, 
To betray the if the fowdan myght -, 
On hym to ryde have thou no drede 
For he the helpe fhall at nede." 


The angel then gives king Richard feveral directions about 
managing this infernal horfe, and a general engagement 
enfuing, between the Chriftian and Saracen armies ^, 

He lepte on hors whan it was lyght j 
Or he in his fadel did lepe 

* His rider. ' Neigh. " Go to her. Again, 
"^ Suck. " God. 

y In v/hich the Saracen line extended Lyke as fnowe lyeth on the mountaynes 
twelve miles in length, and So were fulfylled hylles and playnes 

With hauberkcs bryght and harneys clere 

The grounde myght unnethe be fcne Of trompettes and tabourere. 

For brj'ght armure and fperes kene. 



Of many thynges he toke kepe. — 

His men brought hem that he bad, 

A fquare tree of fourty fete, 

Before his fadell anone he it fete 

Fafle that they fliould it brafe, &c. 

Hymfelf was richely begone. 

From the crefte ryght to the tone % 

He was covered wonderfiy wele 

All with fplentes of good flele. 

And ther above an hauberke. 

A fhafte he had of trufty werke, 

Upon his fhoulders a fhelde of ftelc. 

With the lybardes "" painted wele j 

And helme he had of ryche entayle, 

Trufty and trewe was his ventayle ; 

Upon his crefte a dove whyte 

Sygnyfycaune of the holy fprite. 

Upon a crofs the dove ftode 

Of gold i wrought ryche and gode, 

God "^ hymfelf Mary and Johon 

As he was done the rode upon % 

In fygnyfycaunce for whom he faught, 

The {pere bed forgat he nauht. 

Upon his fhaft he wolde it have 

Goddis name theron was grave. 

Now herken what othe he fware, 

Or thay to the battayle went there : 

" Yf it were fo, that Rycharde myght 

" Siee the fowdan in felde with fyght, 

** At our wylie everychone 

" He and his ftiold gone 

« From head to foot. an old fragment cited by Hearne, GloiT. 

» Leopards. Rob. Br. p. 634. 

*> Our Saviour. Pyned under Ponce Pilat, 

< «* As he died upon the crofs," So in Don on the rod after that. 

Y 2 In 

1 64 










In to the cyte of Babylone j 
And the kynge of Mafydoyne 
*' He fholde have under his honde ; 
And yf the fowdan of that londe 
Myght flee Rycharde in the felde 
With fwerde or fpere under fhelde. 
That Cryften men fholde go 
Out of that londe for ever mo. 
And the Sarafyns theyr wyll in wolde/' 
Quod kynge Rycharde, " Therto I holde, 
" Therto my glove, as I am knyght." 
They be armyd and redy dyght : 
Kynge Rycharde to his fadeil dyde lepe, 
Certes, who that v^olde take kepe 
To fe that fyght it were fayre j. 
Ther fiiedes ranne with grete ayre '', 
A\ fo hard as thei myght dyre ^, 
After theyr fete fprange out fyre : 
Tabours and trompettes gan blowe : 
Ther men myght fe in a throwe 
How kynge Rychard that noble man 
Encountred with the fowdan, 
The chefe was tolde of Damas ^ 
His trufte upon his mare was, 
And tharfor, as the boke us telles % 
Hys crouper henge full of belles ^ 

° Ire. « Dare 

* I do not underftand this. He feems to 
mean the Sultan of Damas, or Damafcus. 
See Du Cange, Joinv. p. 87. 

2 The Frtrnch romance. 

^ Anticntly no perfon feems to have 
been gallantly equipped on horfeback, un- 
lefs the horfe's bridle or fome other part of 
the furniture, was ftuck full of fmall bells. 
Vincent of Beauvais, who wrote about 1 264, 
cenfurcs this piece of pride in the knights 
templars. They have, he fays, bridles em- 

broidered, or gilded, or adorned with filvcr» 
" Atque in peftoralibus campanulas 


" TUM, ad gloriam eorum et decorem.'* 
Hill:. lib. XXX. cap. S^.Wicliffe, in hisTRiA- 
LOGE, inveighs againft the priefts for their 
*' fair hors, and jolly and gay fadeles, and 
" bridles ntiging by the way, &c. Lewis's 
WiCKLiFFE,p. 121. Andhehce Chaucer 
may be illuftrated, who thus dcftribes the 
ftate of a monk on horfeback, Prol. Cant. 
V. 170. 



And his peytrell ' and hys arfowne ^ 

Thre myle men myght here the fowne. 

His mare nyghed, his belles dyd rynge. 

For grcte pryde, vvithoute lefynge, 

A faucon brode ' in honde he bare, 

For he thoght he wolde thare 

Have flayne Rycharde with treafowne 

Whan his colte fliolde knele downe 

As a colte fliolde fouk his dame, 

And he was ware of that (liame. 

His eres "" with waxe were flopped fafte. 

Therefore Rycharde was not agafte, 

He flroke the ftede that under hym wente. 

And gave the Sowdan his deth with a dente : 

In his fhelde verament 

Was paynted a ferpent, 

Wyth the fpere that Rycharde helde 

He bare hym thorugh under hys fhelde, 

Non of hys armure myght hym lafle, 

Brydell and peytrell al to brafle, 

Hys gyrthes and hys fteropes alfo 

Hys mare to grounde wente tho ; 

Maugre her heed, he made her feche 

The grounde, withoute more fpeche, 

Hys feete towarde the fyrmament, 

Bihynde hym the fpere outwent 

Ther he fell dede on the grene, 

Rycharde fmote the fende with fpores " kene, 

And when he rode, men might his bridell About the payntrell floode the fonie 

/jere ful hie. 

GiNCLiNG in a whifUing wind as clere k tj^^ faddle-bow. « Arcenarium exten- 

And eke as lowde,asdoth the chapell bell. << cellatum cum argento," occurs in the 

That is, becaufe his horfe's bridle or trap- wardrobe rolls, ab an. z\ ad an. 23 Edw. 

pings were ftrung with bells. iii. Membr. xi. This word is not in Du 

' The breall-plate, or breaft-band of a Cange or his fupplement. 

horfe. Poitral, Fr. Pe£iorale, Lat. Thus ' F. bird, 

Chaucer of the Chanon Yeman's horfe, «" Ears. 

Chan. Yon. Prol. v. 575. Urr, " Spurs, 



And yn the name of the holi gooft • 

He dryveth ynto the hethen hooft. 

And as fone as he was come, 

Afonder he brake the fheltron % 

And al that ever afore hym flode, 

Hors and man to the grounde yode, 

Twenti fote on either fyde, &c. 

Whan the kyng of Fraunce and hys men wyfte 

That the maftry had the Cryften, 

They waxed bold, and gode herte toke 

Stedes beftrode, and fhaftes fhoke ^. 

Richard arming himfelf is a curious Gothic picture. It 
is certainly a genuine pifture, and drawn with fome fpirit j 
as is the (hock of the two necromantic fteeds, and other 
parts of this defcription. The combat of Richard and the 
Soldan, on the event of which the chriftian army got pof- 
feffion of the city of Babylon, is probably the Duel of 
King Richard, painted on the wall of a chamber in the 
royal palace of Clarendon \ The Soldan is reprefented as 
meeting Richard with a hawk on his fifl:, to fliew indif- 
ference, or a contempt of his adverfary ; and that he came 
rather prepared for the chace, than the combat. Indeed in 
the feudal times, and long afterwards, no gentleman appeared 
on horfeback, unlefs going to battle, without a hawk on 
his fift. In the T'apefiry of the Norman conqucjiy Harold is 
exhibited on horfeback, with a hawk on his fifl, and his 
dogs running before him, going on an embaify from king 
Edward the ConfefTor to William Duke of Normandy \ 

" Schiltron. I believe foldiers drawn P Signat. M. ii. i See fupr. p. 114. 

up in a circle. Rob. de Brunne ufes it in ' The hawk on the fifl was a mark of 

defcribing the battle of Fowkirke, Chron. great nobility. We frequently find it, 

p. 305. upon antique feals and miniatures, attri- 

rr., n r n. J • v butcd to perfons of both fexes. So facred 

Thar ScHELTKON fone was fhad with ^^^^ ^^.^ ^.^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ -^ ^^^ f^^j,jj_ 

Inghs that wer gode. ^^^ j^ ^ ^^^^ ^^ Charlemagne's laws, for 

Shad is feparated, any one to give his hawk or his fword as 




labour, a drum, a common accompaniment of war, is men- 
tioned as one of the inilruments of martial miific in this 
battle with chara6leriftical propriety. It was imported into 
the European armies from the Saracens in the holy war. 
The word is conllantly written tabour, not tambour ^ in Join- 
ville's History of Saint Louis, and all the elder French 
romances. Joinville defcribes a fuperb bark or galley be- 
longing to a Saracen chief, which he fays was filled with 
cymbals, tabours, and Saracen horns '. Jean d' Orronville, an 
old French chronicler of the life of Louis duke of Bourbon, 
relates, that the king of France, the king of Thrafimere, 
and the king of Bugie landed in Africa, according to their 
cuftom, with cymbals, kettle drums, tabours \ and whiftles ". 
Babylon, here faid to be befieged by king Richard, and fo 
frequently mentioned by the romance writers and the chro- 
niclers of the crufades, is Cairo or Bagdat. Cairo and Bagdat, 
cities of recent foundation, were perpetually confounded 
with Babylon, which had been deftroyed many centuries 
before, and was fituated at a confiderable diftance from 
either. Not the leall enquiry was made in the dark ages 
concerning the true fituation of places, or the difpofition of 
the country in Paleftine, although the theatre of fo im- 

part of his ranfom. ** In ccmpojitionem 
" Wirigildi 'volhtnus ut ea denter que in Uge 
" coiitinentitr except accipitre et fpatha." 
Lindebrog. Cod. Leg. Antiq. p. 895. In 
the year 1337, the bilhop of Ely excom- 
municated certain perfons for dealing a 
hawk, fitting on her perch, in the cloifters 
or the abbey of Bermondfey in Southwark, 
This piece of facrilege, indeed, was com- 
mitted durinof fervice-time in the choir : 
and the hawk was the property of the 
bifhop. Regiilr. Adami Orleton, Epifc. 
Winton. fol. 56. b. In Archiv. Win ton. 
In Domes DEI-BOOK, a Hawk's Airy, 
Aira Acdpitris, is fometimes returned 
among the moft valuable articles of pro- 

^ Hiftoir. de S. Leys, p 30. The ori- 
ginal has " Ccrs Sarazinois." See alfo 
p. 52. 56. And Du Cange's Notes, p. 61. 

' I cannot find Glais, the word that fol- 
lows, in the French didlionaries. But per- 
haps it anfwers to our old Englifh Glee. See 
Du Cange, Gl. Lat. V. Classicum. 

" Cap. 76. Nacaires, is here the word 
for kettle-drums. See Du Cange, ubi fupr. 
p. 59. Who alfo from an old roll dc la 
chamLre des CoMPTES de Paris recites,, 
among the houfhold muficians of a French 
nobleman, " MeneRrel du Cor Sarazincis,''^ 
ib. p. 60. This inftrument is not uncom- 
mon in the French romances. 



portant a war j and to this negledl were owing, in a great 
meafure, the fignal defeats and calamitous diflreffes of the 
chriftian adventurers, whofe numerous armies, deftitute of 
information, and cut off from every refource, perifhed amidft 
unknown mountains, and impra6licable waftes. Geography 
at this time had been but little cultivated. It had been 
ftudied only from the antients : as if the face of the earth, 
and the political Hate of nations, had not, fnice the time of 
thofe writers, undergone any changes or revolutions. 

So formidable a champion was king Richard againfl the 
infidels, and fo terrible the remembrance of his valour in 
the holy war, that the Saracens and Turks ufed to quiet 
their froward children only by repeating his name. Join- 
ville is the only writer who records this anecdote. He 
adds another of the fame fort. When the Saracens were 
riding, and their horfes ftarted at any unufual objeft, " ils 
" dilbient a leurs chevaulx en les picquent de 1' efperon, et 
" cuides til que ce foit le Roy Richart "^ ?" It is extraordi- 
nary, that thefe circumftances fhould have efcaped Malmef- 
bury, Matthew Paris, Benedicyt, Langtoft, and the reft of 
our old hiftorians, who have exaggerated the charafter of 
this redoubted hero, by relating many particulars more 
likely to be fabulous, and certainly lefs expreflive of his 

^ Hift. de S. Loyis, p. 16. 104. Who of the holy war. See Du Cange's Notes, 
had it from a French manufcript chronicle P- 45« 






THE romance of Sir Guy, which is enumerated by- 
Chaucer among the " Romances of Pris," affords the 
following fiftion, not uncommon indeed in pieces of this 
fort, concerning the redemption of a knight from a long 
captivity, whofe prifon was inacceflible, unknown, and 
enchanted \ His name is Amis of the Mountain. 

Here befyde an Elfifh knyhte '' 

Has taken my lorde in fyghte, 

And hath him ledde with him away 

In the Fayry \ Syr, permafay. 

Was Amis, quoth Heraude, your hulbond ? 

A doughtyer knygte was none in londe. 

Then tolde Heraude to Raynborne, 

How he loved his father Guyon : 

Then fayd Raynburne, for thy fake. 

To morrow I fhall the way take. 

And nevermore come agayne, 

Tyll I bring Amys of the Mountayne. 

* The Romance of Sir Guy is a confi- 
derable volume in quarto. My edition is 
without date, •* Imprinted at London in 
*' Lothburye by Wyllyam Copland." with 
rude wooden cuts. It runs to Sign. S. ii. 
It feems to be older than the Syi'yr of 
degree, in which it is quoted. Sign. a. iii. 

Or els fo bolde in chivalrie 

As was fyr Gawayne or fyr Gie. 

The two beft manufcripts of this romance 
are at Cambridge. MSB. Bibl. Publ. Mor. 
690. 33. And MSS. Coll. Caii, A. 8. 
b In Chaucer's Tale of the Chano?i Te- 

Vol. I. , \ 

man, chemillry is termed an Elfish art, 
that is, taught or condufled by Spirits. 
This is an Arabian idea. Chan. Yem. T. 
p. 122. V. 772. Urry's edit. 

Whan we be ther as we ihall exercife 
Our EL VI SHE craft. 

Again, ibid. v. 863. 

Though he fit at his boke both daie and 

In lerning of this elvish nice lore. 

"= " Into the land of Fairy, into the 
*' region of Spirits." 



Raynborne rofe on the morrow erly. 

And armed hym full richely. — 

Raynborne rode tyll it was noone, 

Tyll he came to a rocke of ftone -, 

Ther he founde a ftrong gate. 

He blifTed hym, and rode in thereat. 

He rode half a myle the waie, 

He faw no light that came of dale, 

Then cam he to a watir brode, 

Never man ovir fuche a one rode. 

Within he fawe a place greene 

Suche one had he never erft feene. 

Within that place there was a pallaice, 

Clofed with walles of heathenelTe "^ : 

The walles thereof were of criflall, 

And the fommers of corall. 

Raynborne had grete dout to pafTe, 

The watir fo depe and brode was : 

And at the lafte his fteede leepe 

Into the brode watir deepe. 

Thyrty fadom he fanke adowne. 

Then cleped "" he to god Raynborne.. 

God hym help, his fteede was good'e. 

And bure hym ovir that hydious floode. 

To the pallaice he yode ^ anone, 

And lyghted downe of his fteede full foone. 

^ " Walls built by the Pagans or Sara- Syr Be-vys of Ucmptoun. Sign. b. iii. 
" cens. Walls built by magic." Chaucer, ^j^ ^^^^^ ^j ^^^^ ^„^ ^^^^ 

in a verfe taken from ijr Be^vys, [Sign. a. ^^ Lx^imt^ and of hetheneJTe. 

ii.] fays that his knight had travelled, ^ 

As well in Chriftendom as in Hethness. ^^^^* ^^S"' ^- ^• 

Prol. p. 2. V. 40. And in Syr Eghmour of The firft dede vyithouten leOe 

Artoyl Sign. E. ii. That Bevys dyd m hetheneffe. 

EglamouT fayd to hym yeys, "^ Called. 

i am conic out cfHETHENES. * Went. 



Through many a chamber yede Raynbornej 

A knyghte he found in dongeon., 

Raynborne grete hym as a knyght courtoile, 

Who ovveth, he faid, this fayre pallaice ? 

That knyght anfwered hym, yt is noght, 

He oweth it that me hither broght. 

Thou art, quod Raynburne, in feeble plight^ 

Tell me thy name, he fayd, fyr knight : 

That knyghte fayd to hym agayne, 

My name is Amys of the Mountayne. 

The lord is an Elvifh man 

That me into thys pryfon wan. 

Arte thou Amys, than fayde Raynborne, 

Of the Mountaynes the bold barrone ? 

In grete perill I have gone. 

To feke thee in this rocke of ftone. 

But bliffed be God now have I thee 

Thou (halt go home with me. 

Let be, fayd Amys of the Mountayne, 

Great wonder I have of thee certayne j 

How that thou hythur wan : 

For fyth this world fyrft began 

No man hyther come ne myghte, 

Without leave of the Elvifh knyghte. 

Me with thee thou may eft not lede, &c. ^ 

Afterwards, the Knight of the Mountain dire6ls Raynburne 
to find a wonderful fword which hung in the hall of the 
palace. With this weapon Raynburne attacks and conquers 
the Elvifh knight j who buys his life, on condition of con- 
ducting his conqueror over the perillous ford, or lake, above 
defcribed, and of delivering all the captives confined in his 
fecret and impregnable dungeon. 

s Sign. K k. iii. feq. 

Z 2 Guyon's 


Guyon's expedition into the Soldan's camp, an idea fur- 
nifhed by the crufades, is drawn with great ftrength and 

Guy afked his armes anone, 
Hofen of yron Guy did upon : 
In hys hawberke Guy hym clad, 
He drad no ftroke whyle he it had. 
Upon hys head hys helme he cafl. 
And hafted hym to ryde full faft. 
A fyrcle ^ of gold thereon lloode, 
The emperarour had none fo goode 3 
Aboute the fyrcle for the nones 
Were fett many precyous ftones. 
Above he had a coate armour wyde ; 
Hys fword he toke by hys fyde : 
And lept upon his ftede anone, 
Styrrope with foote touched he none. 
Guy rode forth without bofle, 
■ Alone to the Soudan's hofte : 
Guy faw all that countrie 
Full of tentes and pavylyons bee : 
On the pavylyon of the Soudone 
Stoode a carbuncle-ftone : 
Guy v/ift therebie it was the Soudones 
And drew hym thyther for the nones, 
Alt the meete ' he founde the Soudone, 
And hys barrons everychone, 
And tenne kynges aboute hym, 
All they were flout and grymme : 
Guy rode forth, and fpake no worde, 
Tyll he cam to the Soudan's horde " ; 

^ Circle. ' At dinner. " iegon the l>or dahovmRll nations. '' Prol. 

^ Table. Chaucer, Sq. T. 105. 52. The terra of chivalry, to hegin the 

, , , . , , 1 , ■ 1 1 board, is to be placed in the uppermoft feat 

And up he rideth to the hie borde. ^^ ^^^ j^^j,^ }^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ; ^^^^ 

Chaucer fays that his knight liad often . p. xv. " the earl of Surry legan the horde 



He lie rought ' with whom he mette, 
But on thys wyfe the Soudan he grette. 
" God's curfe have thou and thyne 
" And tho that leve "" on ApoHne." 
Than fayd the Soudan, " What art thou 
" That thus prowdlie fpeakefl now ? 
" Yet found I never man certayne 
" That fuche wordes durft me fayne." 
Guy fayd, " So God me fave from hell, 
" My ryght nam I ihall the tell, 
" Guy of Warwicke my name is." 
Than fayd the Sowdan ywis, 
" Arte thou the bolde knyght Guyon, 
" That art here in my pavylyon ? 
" Thou llueft my cofyn Coldran 
" Of all Sarafyns the boldeil man, &c. " 


** in prefence : the earl of Arundel wafhed 
** with him, and fatt both at the lirft mefie. 
*' . . . Began the horde at the chamber's 
** end." i. e. fat at the head of that table 
which was at the end of the chamber. 
This was at Windfor, A. D. 15 19. In 
Syr Eglamoiir of Artoys, we have to begin 
the de/e, which is the fame thing. 

Lordes in halle wer fette 

And waytes blewe to the mete.— 

The two knyghtes the defe began. 

Sign. D. iii. See Chaucer, Squ. T. 99. 
And Kn. T. 2002. In a celebration of 
the feaft of Chrillmas at Greenwich, in 
the year 1488, we have, " The due of 
*' Bedeford beganne the table on the right 
*' fide of the hall, and next untoo hym 
*' was the lorde Dawbeneye, &c." That 
is. He fate at the head of the table. Leland. 
Coll. iii, 237. edit. 1770. To begin the 
bourd is to begin the tournament. Lydgate, 
Chron. Troy, B. ii. ch. 14. 

The grete juftes, hordes^ ov tournay. 

I will here take occafion to correft Hearne's 
explanation of the word Bourder in Brunne's 
Chron. p. 204. 

A knygt a bourdour king Richard hade 
A douty man in ftoure his name was 

Bourdour, fays Hearne, is boarder, pen- 
fioner. But the true meaning is, a I4'ag, an 
arch fellow, for he is here introduced put- 
ting a joke on the king of France. B o u r d e 
hjeji, trick, from the French. See above, 
p. 70. Chauc. Gam. 1974. and Non. Urr. 
2294. Knyghton mentions a favourite 
in the court of England who could procure 
any grant from the king burdnndo. Da 
Cange, Not. Joinv, p. 116. Vv^'ho adds, 
" De la vient le mot de Bourdcurs qui cf- 
" toient ces farceurs ou plaifantins qui di- 
" vertiflbient les princes par le recit des 

" fables et dcs hiiloircs des Romans. 

•' Aucuns eftiment que ce mot vient des he~ 
*' hourds qui eltoit une efpece des Tour- 
" nois." See alfo DifT. Joinv. p. 174. 
^ Cared, valued. Chaucer, Rom, R. 

I ne rought of deth ne of life. 

"' Thofe who believe. 
" Sign. Q^iii. 

I will 


I will add Guy's combat with the Danifli giant Colbrond, 
as it is touched with great fpirit, and may ferve to illuftrate 
fome preceding hints concerning this part of our hero's 

Then came Colbronde forthe anone, 

On foote, for horfe could bare hym none. 

For when he was in armure dight 

Fower horfe ne bare hym might. 

A man had ynough to done 

To here hym hys wepon. 

Then Guy rode to Colbronde, 

On hys ftede ful wele rennede " : 

Colbronde fmote Guy in the fielde 

In the middeft of Syr Guyes fhelde ; 

Through Guyes hawberk that ftroke went 

And for no maner thyng it withftent % 

In two yt fhare '^ Guyes ftedes body 

And fell to ground haftily. 

Guy upftert as an eger lyoune, 

And drue hys gode fworde browne : 

To Colbronde he let it flye, 

But he might not reche fo bye. 

On hys fhoulder the ftroke fell downe 

Through all hys armure fhare Guyon '. 

Into the bodie a wounde untyde 

That the red blude gan oute glyde, 

Colbronde was wroth of that rap, 

He thought to give Guy a knap. 

He fmote Guy on the helme bryght 

That out fprang the fyre lyght. 

Guy fmote Colbronde agayne. 

Through fhielde and armure certayne. 

* Running. ' ** Gay cut through all the giant's ar- 

p «« Nothing could ftop it." " mour." 

1 Divided. 



He made his fwerde for to glyde 
Into his bodie a wound ryht wyde. 
So fmart came Guyes bronde 
That it brafte in hys hond» 

The romance of the Squire of Low Degree, who loved 
the king's daughter of Hungary \ is alluded to by Chaucer 
in the Rime of Sir I'ofas \ The princefs is thus reprefented 
in her clofet, adorned with painted glafs, liflening to the 
Squire's complaint °. 

That ladi herde hys mournyng alle, 

Ryght undir the chambre walle : 

In her oryall ^ there fhe was, 

Clofyd well with royall glas, 

Fulfyllyd yt was with ymagery. 

Every windowe by and by 

On eche fyde had ther a gynne, 

Sperde " with manie a dyvers pynne^ 

Anone that ladie fayre and fre 

Undyd a pynne of yvere, 

And wyd the wyndowes fhe open fet, 

The funne fhonne yn at hir clofet, 

In that arbre fayre and gaye 

She fawe where that fquyre lay, &c,,. 

= Ic contains thirty-eight pages in quarto. 
" Imprinted at London by me Wyllyam 
*' Copland." I have never feen it in ma- • 

' See Obfervations on the Fairy Queen, 
L §. iv. p. J 39. 

'^ Sign. a. iii. 

'" An Oriel feems to have been a recefs 
in a chamber, cr hall, formed by the pro- 
jeflion of a fpacious bcw-window from top 
to bottom. Rot. Pip. an, 18. Hen. iii. 
{A. D. 1234.] *' Et in quadara capella 
*•' pjilchra er decenti facienda ad caput 

*•' OiioII camere regis In caftro Hereforditv 
*' de longitudine xx pedum." This Oriel 
was at the end of the king's chamber, 
from which the new chapel was to begin. 
Again, in the caftie of Kenihvorth. Rot. 
Pip. an 19. Hen. iii. [A. D. 1235.] " Et 
" in uno magno OrioUo pulchro et cora- 
" petenti, ante oftium magne camere regis 
" in caftro de Kenihvorth faciendo, viA. 
*' xvij. iv^. per Brev. regis." 

" Clofed, ihut. In P, Plowman, of a. 
blind man. " unj'parryd his eine." i. e» 
opened his eyes. 

I am>. 



I am perfuaded to tranfcribe the following pafiage, becaufe 
it delineates in lively colours the fafliionable diverfions and 
ufages of antient times. The king of Hungary endeavours 
to comfort his daughter with thefe promifes, after fhe had 
fallen into a deep and incurable melancholy from the fup- 
pofed lofs of her paramour. 

To morow ye fhall yn huntyng fare ; 

And yede, my doughter, yn a chare, 

Yt flial be coverd wyth velvette reede 

And clothes of fyne golde al about your heede, 

With damafke whyte and afure blewe 

Well dyaperd ^ with lyllyes newe : 

y Embroidered, Diverfified. Chaucer of 
a bow, Rom. R. v. 934. 

And it was painted wel and thwitten 
And ore al diapred, and written, Sec. 

Thwitten is, tivijied, nvreathed. The fol- 
lowing inftance from Chaucer is more to 
our purpofe. Knight's Tale, v. 2160. 

Upon a ftede bay, trappid in ftele, 
Coverid with cloth of gold diaprid wele. 

This term, which is partly heraldic, oc- 
curs in the Provifor's rolls of the Great- 
wardrobe, containing deliveries for furnifh- 
ing rich habiliments, at tilts and tourna- 
ments, and other ceremonies. " Et ad 
" faciendum tria harnefia pro Rege, quo- 
" rum duo de velvetto albo operato cum 
*' garteriis de blu et diajprez per totam 
*' campedinem cum wodehoufes." Ex 
Comp. J. Coke clerici, Provifor. Magn. 
Garderob. ab ann. xxi. Edw. iii. de 23 
membranls. ad ann. xxiii. memb. x. I 
believe it properly fir;nifies embroidering 
on a rich ground, as till'ue, cloth of gold, 
&c. This is confirmed by Peacliam. " Di a- 
•' p E R I N G is a term in drawing. — It chief- 
" ly ferveth to counterfeit cloth of gold, 
" fllver, damaflc, brancht velvet, camblet, 
" &c." Compl. Gent. p. 345. Anderfon, 
in his Hiiloiy of Commerce, conjeftures, 
that Diaper, a fptcies of printed linen, 
took it's name from the city of Ypres in 

Flanders, where it was firfl made, being 
originally called d' ipre. But that city, and 
others in Flanders, were no lefs famous for 
rich manufaftures of ftufF ; and the word in 
queftion has better pretenfions to fuch a de- 
rivation. Thus rich cloth embroidered 'with 
raijed ivork we called d^ ipre, and from 
thence diaper ; and to do this, or any work 
like it, was called to diaper, from whence 
the participle. Sattin of Bruges, another 
city of Flanders, often occurs in inven- 
tories of monalHc veftments, in the reign of 
Henry the eighth : and the cities of Arras 
and Tours are celebrated for their tapeftry 
in Spenfer. All thefe cities, and others in 
their neighbourhood, became famous for 
this fort of workmanfhip before 1200, 
The Armator of Edward the third, who 
finiflies all the colily apparatus for the 
fliews above-mentioned, confilling, among 
other things, of variety of the molt fump- 
tuous and ornamented embroideries on vel- 
vet, fattin, tifTue, &c. is John of Cologn. 
Unlefs it be Colonia in Italy. Rotul. prx- 
didl. memb. viii. memb. xiii, " Qu:e omnia 
" ordinata fuerunt per garderobarium com- 
" petentem, de precepto ipfms Regis : et 
** fadta et parata par manus Johis de Co- 
" Ionia, Armatoiis ipfius domini noftri 
" Regis." Johannes de Strawefburgh 
[Strafburgh] is mentioned as broudator regis, 
i. e. of Richard the fecond, in Anllis, 
Ord. Gart. i. 55. See alfo, ii. 42. I will 



Your pomelles flialbe ended with golde, 
Your chaynes enameled many a folde. 
Your mantel! of ryche degre 
Purple palle and armyne fre. 
Jennets of Spayne that ben fo wyght 
Trapped to the ground with velvet bryght. 
Ye fhall have harpe, fautry, and fonge. 
And other myrthes you amonge, 
Ye fhal have rumney, and malefpine, 
Both ypocraffe and vernage wyne j 
Mountrefe and wyne of Greke, 
Both algrade and defpice eke 5 
Antioche and baftarde, 
Pyment ^ alfo, and garnarde ; 


add a pafTage from Chaucer's Wife of Bath, 
V. 450. 

Of cloth- making fhe had fuch a haunt. 
She paffid them of Ipre and of Gaunt. 

" Cloth of Gaunt," i. e. Ghent, is men- 
tioned in the Romaunt of the Rofe, v. 574. 
Bruges was the chief mart for Indian com- 


modities, about the thirteenth century. In 
the year 13 18, five Venetian galeafles, 
laden with Indian goods, arrived at this 
city, in order to difpofe of their cargoes at 
the fair. L. Guic. Defer, di Paefi bafs. p. 
174. Silk manufaftures were introduced 
from the eaft into Italy, before 1130. 
Gianon. Hill. Napl. xi. 7. The crufades 
much improved the commerce of the Ita- 
lian Hates with the ealt in this article, and 
produced new artificers of their own. But 
to recur to the fubjeft of this note. Diaper 
occurs among the rich filks and ftuiFs in 
the French Roman de la Rofe^ where it 
feems to fignify Damafi. v. 21867^ 

Samites, dyaprjs, camelots. 

I find it likewife in the Roman (T Alexandre, 
written about 1200. MS3. Bodl. fol. i. b. 
col. 2. 

Dvapres d'Antioch, famis de R.omanie. 
Vol I. 

Here is alfo a proof that the Afiatic ftufFs 
were at that time famous : and probably 
Romanie is Romania, The word often oc- 
curs in old accounts of rich ecclefiaftical 
veilments. Du Cange derives this word from 
the Italian diafpro, a jafper, a precious 
ftone which fhifts its colours. V. Dias- 
PRus. In Dugdale's Monafticon we have 
diafperatus, diapered. " Sandalia cum ca- 
" ligis de rubeo fameto oiASPERATobreu- 
" data cum imaginibus regum." Tom, iii. 
314. And 321. 

^ Sometimes written pimeate. In the 
romance of S,r Bevys, a knight jufl going 
to repofe, takes the ufual draught of pt- 
meate : which mixed with fpices is what 
the French romances call 'vin du coucher, 
andfor which an olncer, called Espicier, 
was appointed in the old royal houfliold of 
France. Signat, m, iii. 

The knight and fhe to chamber went: — 
With pimeate and with fpifery. 
When they had dronken the wyne. 

See Carpentier, Suppl. Glofi". Lat. Du 
Cange, torn. iii. p. 842. So Chaucer, Leg. 
Dido, V, 185. 

The fpicis parted, and the wine agon. 
Unto his chamber he is lad anon. 

A a Froiff-irt 



Wine of Greke, and mufcadell, 

Boto clare, pyment, and rochell. 

The reed your ftomake to defye 

And pottes of ofey fett you bye. 

You Ihall have venyfon ybake % 

The beft wylde fowle that may be take : 

A lefe of harehound " with you to flreke, 

An hart, and hynde, and other lyke, 

Ye ilialbe fet at fuch a tryfl 

That hart and hynde fliall come to you fyil. 

Your defeafe to dryve ye fro, 

To here the bugles there yblowe. 

FioifTart fays, among the delights of his 
youth, that he was happy to talte, 

Au couchier, pour mieulx dormir, 

Efpeces, clairet, et rocelle. 

Mem. Lit. x. 66^. Not. 4to. Lidgate of 
Tideus and Polimite in the palace of Adraf- 
tus at Thebes. Stor. Theb. p. 634. ed. 
Chauc. 1687. 

»Gan anon repaire 
To her lodging in a ful {lately toure j 
AfTigned to hem by the hsrbeiour. 
And afdr fpicis plenty and the wine 
In cuppis grete wrought of gold ful fyne. 
Without tarrying to bedde llraightes they 

gone, &c. 
Chaucer has it again, Squ. T. v. 311. p. 
62. Urr. And Mill. T. v. 270. p. 26. 

He fent \\e.r, methe, and fpicid ale. 

Some orders of monks are enjoined to ab- 
ftain from drinking pigmentitm or piment. 
Yet it was a common refeftion in the mo- 
nafteries. It is a drink made of wine, ho- 
ney, and fpices. " Thei ne could not 
*' medell the gefte of Bacchus to ihe clere 
*' honie ; that is to fay, they could not 
*' make ne piuunt ne clarre," Chaucer's 
Bocth. p. 371. a. Urr. C/(?r;T is clarified 
wine. In French Clarey. Perhaps the fame 
as piment, or hypocrafs. See Mem. Lit. 

vlii. p. 674. 4to. Compare Chauc. Sh. T* 
V. 2579. Urr. Du Cange GlofT. Lat. "\^' 
PiGMENTUM. Species. And Suppl. Carp* 
And Mem. fur I'anc. Chevalier, i. p. ig. 
48. I muft add, that -E-iyjaei/Tapicf, Or-rc-ip.Et- 
1«^ior, fignified an Apothecary among the 
middle and lower Greeks. See Du Cange, 
Gl. Gr. in Voc. i. 1 167. And ii. Append. 
Etymolog. Vocab. Ling. Gall. p. 301. 
col. I. In the regiller of the bifhop of 
Nivernois, under the year 1287, it is co- 
venanted, that whenever the biihop fhali 
celebrate mafs in S. Mary's abbey, the 
abbefs fhall prefent him with a peacook, 
and a cup of piment. Carpentier. ubi fupr. 
vol.iii. p. 277. 

^ Chaucer fays of the Frankelein, Prol. 
p. 4. Urr. V. 345. 

Withoutin bake mete never was his houfe. 

And in this poem, Signat. B. iii. 
With birds in bread ybake. 
The tele the duck and drake. 

'' In a manufcript of Froiffart full ©f 
paintings and illuminations, there is a re- 
prefentation of the grand entrance of queen 
Ifabel of England into Paris, in the year 
1324. She is attended by a greyhound 
who has a flag, powdered with fleurs de 
lys, bound to his neck. Montf. Monum. 
Fr. ii. p. 234. 



Homward thus Hiall ye rycle, 
On haukyng by the ryvers fyde. 
With golhauke and with gentil fa w con 
With buglehorn and merlyon. 
When you come home your menie amonge* 
Ye fliall have revell, daunces, and fonge ; 
Lytle chyldren, great and fmale, 
-Shall fyng as doth the nyghtyngale, 
Than Ihal ye go to your evenfong. 
With tenours and trebles among, 
Threfcore of copes of damalk bryght 
Full of perles they flialbe pyghte. — 
Your fenfours flialbe of golde 
Endent with afure manie a folde •. 
Your quere nor organ fonge fliall want 
With countre note and dyfcaunt. 
The other halfe on orgayns playing, 
With yong chyldren ful fayn fyngyng. 
Than flial ye go to your fuppere 
And fytte in tentis in grene arbere. 
With clothe of arras pyght to the grounde, 
With faphyres fet of dyamounde. — 
A hundred knyghtes truly tolde 
Shall plaie with bowles in alayes colde. 
Your difeafe to dryve awaie, 
To fe the fisfhes yn poles plaie. 
To a drawe brydge then flial ye, 
Thone halfe of flone, thother of tre, 
A barge fhal meet you full ryht^ 
With xxiiii ores ful bryght, 
With trompettes and with claryowne, 
The frefshe watir to rowe up and downe. 
Than fhal you, doughter, aike the wyne 
Wyth fpifes that be gode and fyne: 

A a 2 Gentyll 



Gentyll pottes with genger grene, 

Wyth dates and deynties you betweene, 

Fortie torches brenynge bright 

At your brydges to bring you lyght. 

Into youre chambre they fliall you brynge 

Wyth muche myrthe and more lykynge. 

Your blank ettes flial be of fuftyane. 

Your flietes flial be of cloths of rayne " : 

Your head-fliete flial be of pery pyght '', 

Wyth dyamondes fet and rubys bryght. 

Whan you are layd in bed fo fofte, 

A cage of golde flial liange aloftj 

Wythe longe peper fayre burning. 

And cloves that be fwete fmellyng, 

Frankinfenfe and olibanum, 

That whan ye flepe the tafle may come 

And yf ye no reft can take 

All nyght mynftrels for you fliall wake \ 

Syr Degore is a romance perhaps belonging to the fame 
period ^ After his education under a hermit, Sir Degore's 
firft adventure is againft a dragon. This horrible monfter 
is marked with the hand of a mafter ^. 

<^ Cloath, or linen, of Rcnnes, a city in 
Eritany. Chaucer, Dr. v. 255. 

- And many a pilowe, and every bare 
0/ clothe of raynes to flepe on fofte, 
Him tharc not nede to turnin ofte. 

'J'ela de Rc',?trs is mentioned among habits 
delivered to knights of the garter, 2 Rich, 
ii. Anftis, Ord. Gart; i. 55. 

<i " Inlaid with jewels." Chaucer, Kn. 
T. V. 2938. p. 22. Urr. 

And then with cloth of gold and with/fr/V. 

And in numbirlefs other places. 

^ Sign. D. ii. feq. At the clofe of the 
romance it is faid, That the king, in the 
midft of a great feaft which lafted forty 
days, created the fquire king in his room ; 
in the prefence of his twelve lords. 
See what I have obferved concerning the 
number twelve, Introd. Diss. i. 

' It contains thirty-two pages in quarto. 
Coloph. " Thus endeth the Tretyfe of 
*' Syr Degore, imprynted by Willyam 
♦' Copland." There is another copy dated 
1560. There is a manufcript of it among 
bilhop More's at Cambridge, Bibl. Publ. 
690. 36. SyrDEGARE. s Sign. B. ii. 



Degore went furth his waye, 

Through a foreil half a daye : 

He herd no man, nor fawe none, 

Tyll yt paft the hygh none, 

Then herde he grete flrokes falle. 

That yt made grete noyfe with alle, 

Full fone he thoght that to fe, 

To wete what the flrokes myght be : 

There was an erle, both flout and gaye^ 

He was com ther that fame daye. 

For to hunt for a dere or a do» 

But hys houndes were gone hym fro. 

Then was ther a dragon grete and grymme. 

Full of fyre and alfo venymme, 

Wyth a wyde throte and tufkes grete,. 

Uppon that knygte faft gan he bete. 

And as a lyon then was hys feete, 

Hys tayle was long, and full unmeete : 

Betwene hys head and hys tayle 

Was xxii fote withouten fayle; 

Hys body was lyke a wyne tonne, 

He flione ful bryght agaynfl the funne: 

Hys eyen were bright as any glaffe,. 

His fcales were hard as any braffej. 

And therto he was necked lyke a horfe, 

He bare hys bed up wyth grete force : 

The breth of hys mouth that did out blow 

As yt had been a fyre on lowe. 

He was to loke on, as I you telle, 

As yt had bene a fiende of helle. 

Many a man he had flient, 

And many a horfe he had rente. 

As the minflrell profeflion became a fcience, and the 
audience grew more civilifed, refinements began to be. 



ftudled, and the romantic poet fought to gain nev/ atten* 
tion, and to recommend his ilory, by giving it the advantage 
of a plan. Moll: of the old metrical romances are, from 
their nature, fuppofed to be incoherent rhapfodies. Yet 
many of them have a regular integrity^ in which every part 
contributes to produce an intended end. Through various 
obftacles and difficulties one point is kept in view, till the 
final and general cataftrophe is brought about by a pleafing 
and unexpe6led furprife. As a fpecimcn of the reft, and as 
it lies in a narrow compafs, I will develope the plan of the 
fable now before us, which preferves at Icaft a coincidence 
of events, and an uniformity of defign. 

A king's daughter of England, extremely beautiful, is foU 
licited in marriage by numerous potentates of various king^ 
doms. The king her father vows, that of all thefe fuitors, 
that champion alone fhall win his daughter who can unhorfe 
him at a tournament* This they all attempt, but in vain. 
The king every year affifted at an anniverfary mafs for the 
foul of his deceafed queen, who was interred in an abbey 
at fome diftance from his caftle. In the journey thither, the 
princefs ftrays from her damfels in a folitary foreft : flie is 
difcovered by a knight in rich armour, who by many foUici- 
tations prevails over her chaftity, and, at parting, gives her a 
fword without a point, which he charges her to keep fafe j 
together with a pair of gloves, which will fit no hands but 
her own ^. At length Ihe finds the road to her father's 
caftle, where, after Ibme time, to avoid difcovery, ftie is fe- 
cretly delivered of a boy. Soon after the delivery, the 
princefs having carefully placed the child in a cradle, with 
twenty pounds in gold, ten pounds in filver, the gloves given 
her by the ft range knight, and a letter, configns him to one 

5 Gloves were antiendy a collly article " tiofis ponderant. xlliij. et iii^/. ob. Et 

of drcfs, and richly decorated. They were " de ii. paribus chirothecarum cum lapi- 

fometimes adorned with precious Hones. " die us." This golden combj fet with 

Rot. Pip. an. 53. Hen. iii. [A. D. 1267.] jewels, realifes the wonders of romance. 
*• Et de i. peftine auri cum lapidibus pre- 



•of her maidens, who carries him by night, and leaves him 
in a wood, near a hermitage, which flie diicerned by the 
light of the moon. The hermit in the morning difcovers 
the child ; reads the letter, by which it appears that the 
gloves will fit no lady but the boy's mother, educates him 
till he is twenty years of ages, and at parting gives him the 
gloves found with him in the cradle, telling him that they 
will fit no lady but his own mother. The youth, who is 
called Degore, fets forward to feek adventures, and faves an 
earl from a terrible dragon, which he kills. The earl in- 
vites him to his palace, dubs him a knight, gives him a 
liorfe and armour, and offers him half his territory. Sir 
Degore refufes to accept this offer, unlefs the gloves, which 
he had received from his foiler-father the hermit, will fit any 
lady of his court. Ail the ladies of the earFs court are called 
before him, and among the reft the earl's daughter, but upon 
trial the gloves will lit none of them. lie therefore takes 
leave of the earl, proceeds on his adventures, and meets 
with a large train of knights ; he is informed that they were, 
going to tourney with the king of England, wdio had promi fed 
his daughter to that knight who could conquer him in fingle 
combat. They tell him of the many barons and earls whom, 
the king had foiled in feveral trials. Sir Degore, however, 
enters the lifcs, overthrows the king, and obtains the prin- 
cefs. As the knight is a perfe6f flranger, fhe fubmits to 
her father's commands with much reluctance. He marries 
her; but in the midfl: of the folemnities which preceded the 
confummation, recollects the gloves which the hermit had 
given him, and propofes to make an experiment with them 
on the hands of his bride. The princefs, on feeing the gloves,^ 
changed colour, claimed them for her ov/n, and drew them 
on with the greateft eafe. She declares to Sir Degore that 
fhe v/as his mother, and frives him an account of his birth : 
flie told him that the knight his father gave her a pointlefs 
fword, which was to be delivered to no perfon bat the fon 



that fhould be born of their ftolen embraces. Sir Degore 
draws the fword, and contemplates its breadth and length 
with wonder : is fuddenly feized with a defire of finding out 
his father. He fets forward on this fearch, and on his way 
enters a caftle, where he is entertained at fupper by fifteen 
beautiful damfels. The lady of the caftle invites him to her 
bed, but in vain j and he is lulled afleep by the found of a 
harp. Various artifices are ufed to divert him from his pur- 
fuit, and the lady even engages him to encounter a giant in 
her caufe ''. But Sir Degore reje6ls all her temptations, and 
purfues his journey. In a foreft he meets a knight richly 
accoutred, who demands the reafon why Sir Degore prefumed 
to enter his foreft without permiffion. A combat enfues. 
In the midft of the conteft, the combatants being both un- 
horfed, the ftrange knight obferving the fword of his ad- 
verfary not only to be remarkably long and broad, but with- 
out a point, begs a truce for a moment. He fits the fword 
to a point which he had always kept, and which had for- 
merly broken off in an encounter with a giant; and by this 
circumftance difcovers Sir Degore to be his fon. They both 
return into England, and Sir Degore's father is married to 
the princefs his mother. 

The romance of Kyng Robert of Sicily begins and 
proceeds thus \ 

Here is of kyng Robert of Cicyk\ 
Hon pride dude birn beguile. 
Princes proude that beth in pres, 
I wol ou tell thing not lees. 

'' All the romances have fuch an obftacle ' MS. Vernon, ut lupr. Elbl. Bodl. f. 

3s this. Tliey have all an enchantrefs, who 299. It is alfo in Caius College Camb. 

detains the knight from his queft by objeds MSS. ClaiT. E. 147.4. ^"^1 I^ibl. Piibl. 

of pleafure ; and who is nothing more than Cambr. MSS. More, 690. 35. And Brit, 

the G-Iypfo of Homer, che Dido of Virgil, Muf. MSS. Harl. 525. 2. f. 35. Cod. 

and the Armida of Taflb, jnembran. Never printed. 



In Cifyle was a noble kyng, 

Faire an ftrong and lumdele zyng " ; 

He hadde a broder in greete Roome, 

Pope of al criftendome ; 

Another he hadde in Alemayne, 

An emperour that Sarazins wrougte paync. 

The kynge was hete ' kynge Robert, 

Never mon ne wufte him ferte. 

He was kyng of great honour 

Ffor that he was conqueraur : 

In al the worlde nas his peer, 

Kyng ne prince, far ne neer : 

And, for he was of chivalrie flour. 

His broder was made emperour : 

His oder broder, godes vikcre. 

Pope of Rome, as I feide ere ; 

The pope was hote pope Urban, 

He was goode to god and man : 

The emperour was hote Valemounde, 

A ftronger warreourc nas non founde. 

After his brother of Cifyle, 

Of whom that I fchal telle awhyle. 

The kynge yhoughte he hadde no peer 

In al the world, far no neer. 

And in his yougt he hadde pryde 

Ffor he was nounpere in uche fyde. 

At midfomer a feynt Jones niht. 

The king to churche com ful riht, 

Ffor to heren his even-fong j 

Him thouhte he dwelled ther ful long. 

He thouhte more in worldes honour 

Than in Crifl our faveour : 

^ Young. ' Named. 

Vol. I. B b In 



In Magnificat *" he herde a vers. 
He made a cleike het him rehers, 
In language of his own tonge, 
In Latyn he nufte " what heo fbnge ; 
The vers was this I tell ye, 
" Depofuit potentes de fede 
" Et exaltavit humiles," 
This was the vers withouten les 
The clerke feide anone righte. 
Sire fuche is godes mihte. 
That he make heyge lowe, 
And lowe heyge, in luytell throwe; 
God may do, withoute lyge % 
His wil in twenkling of an eige % 
The kynge feide, with hert unftabt" 
All yor fong is fals and fable : 
What man hath fuch power 
Me to bringe lowe in daunger ? 
I am floure of chivalrye, 
Myn enemys I may diftruye : 
No man lyveth in no londe 
That may me withftonde. 
Then is this a fong of noht." 
This erreur he hadde in thought. 
And in his thought a fleep him tok. 
In his pulput ', as feith the boke. 
Whan that evenfong was al don, 
A kyng i lyk hem out gon 
And all men with hem wende, 
Kyng Roberd lefte oute of mynde '. 

*' The hymn fo called. » " A king like him went out of the 

■ He ivi/. Knew not. " chapel, and all the company with him ; 

• Lie. P Eye, *' while the real king Robert was forgot- 

» Stall, or feat. •' ten and left behiiid." 












The newe ' kyng was, as I yow telle, 

Codes aungell his pruide to felle. 

The aungell m hall joye made. 

And all men of hym weore glade. 

The kynge wakede that laye in churche, 

His men he thouhte wo to werche ; 

Ffor he was left ther alon. 

And dark niht hym fel upon. 

He gan crie after his men, 

Ther nas non that fpak ageru 

But the fextune atten ende 

Of the churche him gan wende ", 

And faide, " What dofl thou nouth hcrc> 

Thou fals thef, thou lofenger ? 

Thou art her with felcnye 

Holy chirche to robby, &c." 
The kyng bigon to renne out fafte j 
As a mon that was wood, 
At his paleys gate he flood. 
And hail the porter gadelyng *, 
And bad him com in higing " : 
The porter feide, " Who clepeth' fo^' 
He anfwerde, " Anone tho, 

Thou fchalt witen ar I go j 

Thi kyng I am thou fchalt knowe : 

In prifoun thou fchall ligge lowe. 

And ben an hanged and to drawe 

As a traytour bi the lawe. 

You fchal wcl witen I am kynge, &c." 

When admitted, he is brought into the hall; where the 
angel, who had alTumed his place, makes him the fool of the 
hall, and cloathes him in a fool's coat. He is then fent out 

« Swppofed, ■ W«nt to him. * Renegado, traitor. ^ At the call, f Call*. 

B b 2 to 




to lie with the dogs j in which fituation he envies the condi- 
tion of thofe dogs, which in great multitudes were permitted 
to remain in the royal hall. At length the emperor Vale- 
mounde fends letters to his brother king Robert, inviting 
him to vifit, with himfelf, their brother the pope at Rome. 
The angel, who perfonates king Robert, welcomes the mef- 
fengers, and cloathes them in the richeft apparel, fuch as 
could not be made in the world. ^^ 

The aungell welcomede the mefTagers, 

And gaf them clothes riche of pers % 

Ffurred al with ermyne, 

In cryftendone is non fo fyne -, 

And all was chouched midde perre % 

Better was non in criftante : 

Such clothe, and hit werre to dihte, 

Al criftendom hit make ne mihte. 

Of that wondrede al that londe, 

How that clothe was wrougt with honde,. 

Where fuch cloth was to felle, 

He ho hit made couthe no mon telle. 

The meflengers went with the kynge ^ 

To grete Rome, withoute lettyngej 

The Fool Robert alfo went, 

Clothed in lodly " garnement. 

With fFoxes tayles mony a boute ^ 

Men mihte him knowen in the route. 

The aungel was clothed al in whyt. 

Was never feyge ' fuch famyt ^ : 

And al was crouched on perles riche, 

Never mon feighe non hem liche. 

' Price. « Lothly, loathfome. 

* Precious ftones. «* In many knots. • Seen. 

■'' That is, the Angel, ' Cloth of gold. 



Al whit attyr was, and fteede. 
The fteede was fair ther he yede ^, 
So feir a fteede as he on rod 
Was never mon that ever bi ftrod. 
The aungel cam to Roome fone 
Real ^ as fel a kyng to done. 
So rech a kyng com never in Roome 
All men wondrede whether he come. 
His men weore realliche ' dight 
Heore " riches can feothe no wiht. 
Of clothis, gurdles, and other thing, 
Evriche fqyzer ' thoughte a kyng -, 
And al ride of riche array. 
Bote "" kyng Robert, as i ow fay, 
Al men on him gan pyke, 
For he rod al other unlyke. 
An ape rod of his clothing 
In tokne that he was underling. 
The pope and the emperour alfo. 
And other lordes mony mo, 
Welcommede the aungel as for kyng, 
And made joye of his comyng ; 
Theofe three bredrene made cumfort. 
The aungel was broder mad bi fort, 
Wei was the pope and emperour 
That hadden a broder of fuch honour. 

Afterwards they return in the fame pomp to Sicily, wliere 
the angel, after fo long and ignominious a penance, reftores 
king Robert to his royalty. 

Sicily was conquered by the French in the eleventh cen- 
tury ", and this tale might have been originally got or 

e Went. •> Royal. ' Royally. bertleDiable, often quoted by Car- 

^ Their. ' Squire. >" But. pentier in his Supplement to Du Cange. 

« There is an old French Romance, Ro- And a French Moraiiry, withojit date, or 




written during their polTeflion of that iiland, which conti- 
nued through many monarchies ". But Sicily, from its 
fituation, became a famihar country to all the wellern con- 
tinent at the time of the crufades, and confequently foon 
found its way into romance, as did many others of the me- 
diterranean iflands and coafts, for the fame reafon. Another 
of them, Cilicia, has accordingly given title to an antient 
tale called, the King of Tars j from which I fhall give fome 
extra6ls, touched with a rude but expreffive pencil. 

" Her bigenneth of the Kyng of Tars, and of the Soudan 
" of Dammias ^ how the Soudan of Dammias was criftened 
" thoru godis gras ^" 

Herkeneth now, bothe old and zyng, 
Ffor Marie love, that fwete thyng : 

Howe a werre bi gan 
Bi tweene a god criftene kyng, 
And an hethene heih lordyng. 

Of Damas the Soudan. 
The kyng of Tars hadde a wyf, 
The feirefte that mihte here lyf. 

That eny mon telle can : 
A dougter thei hadde ham bi tweene, 
That heore ' rihte heire fcholde ben ; 

Whit fo ' father of fwan : 

«ame of the author, In manufcrlpt, Com- 
latent il flit enjoint a Robert le diahle, fih 
du due de Normandicy pour fes mesfaites, de 
faire le fol fang parler, it depuis N. S. ut 
merci du lui. Beauchamp's, Rech. Theat. 
Fr. p. 109. This is probably the fame 

• A paflage in Fauchett, fpeaking of 
rhyme, may peihaps deferve attention here. 
" Pour le regard de Siciiiens, je me tiens 
*• prefque afleure, que Guillaume Ferra- 
" brach frere de Robert Guifchard et au- 
** tres feigneurs de Calabre et Pouille enfans 
** de Taiicred Jran^ois-Normand, Toot 

•' portee aux pais de leur conqucfte, cftant 
** une coullume des gens de de9a chanter, 
** avant que combattre, les beaux faits dc 
*' leurs anceftres, compofez en vers." Rec. 
p. 70. Boccacio's Tancred, in his beautiful 
Tale of Tancred and Sigismunda, 
was one of thefe Franco-Norman kings of 
Sicily. Compare Nouv. Abreg. Chronol. 
Hift. Fr. pag, 102. edit. 1752. 

f Damafcus. 

t MS. Vernon. Bibl. Bodl. f. 304. It 
is alfo in Bibl. Adv. Edingb. W. 4. 1, 
Num. iv. In five leaves and a half. Never 
printed. ' Their ' As. 



Chaaft heo ' v/as, and feir of chere,. 
With rode " red fo blofme on brere, 

Eigen "" ftepe and gray, 
Lowe fchuldres, and why t fwere * ; 
Her to feo ''was gret preyere 

Of princes pert in play. 
The worde ' of hire fpronge ful wyde 
Ffeor and ner, bi vch a fyde : 

The Soudan herde fay ; 
Him thougte his herte wolde broke on fiv«* 
Bote he mihte have hire to wive, 

That was fo feire a may, 
The Soudan ther he fatte in halle;: 
He fent his meflagers fafte with alle^ 

To hire fader the kyng. 
And feyde, hou fo hit ever bi falle, 
That mayde he wolde clothe in pallc 

And fpoufen hire with his ryng.. 
'* And alles * I fwere withouten fayle 
" I chull " hire winnen in. pleye battayle: 

** With mony an heih lordyng, &c.'' 

The Soldan, on application to the king of Tarfus for his: 
daughter, is refufed j and the meffengers return without 
fuccefs. The Soldan's anger is painted with great characr 
teriilical fpirit. 

The Soudan fate at his des,. 
I ferved of his furfte mes ; 

Thei comen into the halle 
To fore the prince proud in pres, 
Heore tale thei tolde withouten les 

And on heore kne-es gan falle: 

' She 

Ruddy. *Eves. "Neck. ^ See. »The i)epon of het. »Alfo. 'Shall. 




And feide, " Sire the king of Tars 
" Of wikked wordes nis not fears, 

" Hethene hounde ' he doth the'calle; 
" And or his dogtur he give the tille * 
«* Thyn herte blode he woll fpille 

" And thi barrons alle." 
Whan the Soudan this i herde. 
As a wod man he ferde, 

His robe he rent adoune ; 
He tar the har ^ of hed and berde. 
And feide he wold her wene with fwerde, 

Beo his lord feynt Mahoune. 
The table adoune rihte he fmote. 
In to the floore foote hot ', 

He lokede as a wylde lyoun ; 
Alle that he hitte he fmotte down riht 
Both fergeaunt and kniht, 

Erie and eke baroun. 
So he ferde forfothe a plihte, 
Al a day, al a nihte, 

That no man mihte him chafte \ — 
A morwen when hit was day lihte, 
He fent his mefTagers ful rihte. 

After his barouns in hafle : 
Lordynges, he feith, what to rede ', 
Me is done a grete myfdede, 

" Of Taars the criften kyng ; 
" I bad him both land and lede 

To have his doughter in worthli wede. 
And fpoufen hire with my ryng. 



«= A phrafe often applied to tlie Saracens. ^ ** Tore the hair." 

So in Syr Bf-vys, Signat. C. ii. b. * Struck, Stamped. 

To fpeke with an hethetie hounde, ^ Check. 

' Thee. ' *' What counfel fliall we take." 

« " Before his daughter is given to 
'♦ thee." 










And he feide, withouten fayle 
Fiifl he wolde me fie in batayle, 
And mony a grete lordynge. 
At fertes "" he fchal be forfwore, 
Or to wrothele " that he was bore, 

Bote he hit therto ° bryng. 
Therefore lordynges, I have after ow fent 
Ffor to come to my parliment, 
To wite of zow counfayle." 
And all onfwerde with gode entent 
Thei wolde be at his commaundement 

Withouten any fayle. 
And when thei were alle at his hefte, 
The Soudan made a well grete fefte. 

For love of his battayle ; 
The Soudan gedrede a hofte unryde '', 
With Sarazyns of muchel pryde. 

The kyng of Taars to afTayle. 
Whan the kyng hit herde that tyde 
He fent about on vche fyde, 

All that he mihte off feende ; 
Grat werre^tho bi gan to wrake 
Ffor the marriage ne mofl be take 

Of that fame mayden heende '. 
Battayie thei fette uppon a day, 
With inne the thridde day of May, 
Ne longer nolde thei leende \ 
The Soudan com with grete power. 
With helme briht, and feir banere, 
Uppon that kyng to wende. 

* " But CCTtalnly.'* Again, 

" Lofs of health or fafety. Malediaion. To zow al was a wlkke confeile. 

So R. of Brunne, Chron. Apud. Hearne's That ze felle fe full ^rotherheiU, 
Rob. Glouc. p 737. 738. c ,, np^ ^^^^ j^^^_„ 

Morgan did after confeile, p Unright. Wicked. 

And wrought hxm felfe to -wrothirhik. «i Hend. Handfome. ^ Tarry. 

Vol. I. C c The 


The Soudan ladde an huge oft, 

And com with muche pruyde and coft. 

With the kyng of Taars to fihte. 
With him mony a Sarazyn feer \ 
All the feolds feor and neer, 

Of helmes leomede ' lihte. 
The kyng of Taars com alfo 
The Soudan battayle for to do 

With mony a criftene knihte ; 
Either oft gon othur afTayle 
Ther hi gon a ftrong batayle 

That griflyche was of fihte. 
Threo hethene agen twey criftene men. 
And felde hem down in the fen, 

With wepnes ftif and goode r 
The fteorne Sarazyns in that fihte, 
Slowe vr criften men doun rihte, 

Thei fouhte as heo weore woode. 
The Souldan's ofte in that ftounde 
Ffeolde the criftene to the grounde, 

Mony a freoly foode -, 
The Sarazyns, with outen fayle, 
The criftens culd " in that battayle, 

Nas non that hem withftoode. 
Whan the king of Taars faw the fiht 
Wood he was for wrathe "' a pliht ; 

In honde he hent a fpere, 
And to the Soudan he rode ful riht. 
With a dunt " of much miht, 

Adoun he gon him here : 
The Souldan neigh he hadde iflawe. 
But thritti thoufant of hethen lawe 

Commen him for to v^^ere ; 

« Comj)anion. « Shone. » Killed. ^ Wra}){>e. Orlg. " Dinf. Wound, ftroke. 



And brougten him agen upon his flede. 
And holpe him wel in that nede, 

That no mon miht him dere ^. 
When he was brouht uppon his ftede. 
He fprong as fparkle doth of glede ^, 

Ffor wrathe and for envye j 
All that he hotte he made them blede. 
He ferde as he wolde a wede \ 

Mahoun help, he gan crye. 
Mony an helm ther was unweved. 
And mony a bacinet " to cleved. 

And faddles mony emptye j 
Men miht fe uppon the felde 
Moni a kniht ded under fchelde, 

Of the criften cumpagnie. 
Whon the kyng of Taars faug hem fo ryde, 
No longer then he nold abyde. 

Bote fleyh " to his owne cite : 
The SarazynSj that ilke tyde, 
Sloug a doun bi vche fyde 

Vr criflene folk fo fre. 
The Sarazyns that tyme, fauns fayle, 
Slowe vre criflene in battayle, 

That reuthe it was to fe ; 
And on the morwe for heore '^ fake 
Truwes thei gunne for to gidere take ", 

A moneth and dayes thre. 
As the kyng of Taars fatte in his halle. 
He made ful gret deol ^ withalle, 

Ffor the folk that he hedde ilore ^ : 

y Hurt. 2 Coal. Firebrand. « " They began to make a truce toge- 

=' " As if h« was mad." " Helmet. « ther." 

^ Fkw. d Their. ^ Dole. Grief. s Loll. 

C c 2 His 


His douhter com in riche palle, 

On kneos he '' gan biforen hym falle, 

And feide with fy thing fore : 
" Ffather, he feide, let me hi his wyf 
" That ther be no more flryf, &c." 

To prevent future bloodfhed, the princefs voluntarily de- 
clares file is v^illing to be married to the Soldan, although 
a Pagan : and notwithflanding the king her father peremp- 
torily refufes confent, and refolves to continue the war, 
with much difficulty fhe finds means to fly to the Soldan's 
court, in order to produce a fpeedy and lafling reconciliation 
by marrying him. 

To the Souldan heo ' is i fare ; 
He com with mony an heig lordyng, 
Ffor to welcom that fwete thyng, 

Theor he com in hire chare ^ : 
He cufl ' hire with mony a fithe 
His joye couthe no man hithe ", 

A wei was al hire care. 
Into chambre heo was led, 
With riche clothes heo was cled, 

Hethene as thaug heo were ". 
The Souldan ther he fatte in halle. 
He commaunded his knihtes alle 

That mayden ffor to fette, 
On cloth of riche purpil palle, 
And on here bed a comli calie, 

Bi the Souldan fhe was fette. 
Unfemli was hit ffor to fe 
Heo that was fo bright of ble 
^ To habbe ° fo foule a mette % &c. 

''She. 'She. •'Chariot. 'Kill. "" As if ilie had been a heathen. One 

» Know. ** of that country." " Have, p Mate. 



They are then married, and the wedding is folemnlfed with 
a grand tournament, which they both view from a high 
tower. She is afterwards dehvered of a fon, which is fo 
deformed as to be almoft a monfter. But at length fhe per- 
fuades the Soldan to turn chriflian ; and the young prince 
is baptifed, after which ceremony he fuddenly becomes a 
child of moll extraordinary beauty. The Soldan next pro- 
ceeds to deflroy his Saracen idols. 

He hente a flof with herte grete, 
And al his goddis he gan to bete, 

And drough hem al adoun ; 
And leyde on til that he con fwete. 
With iierne ftrokes and with grete,, 

On Jovyn and Plotoun, 
On Aftrot and fire Jovyn 
On Termagaunt and Apollin,. 

He brak them fcul and croun -, 
On Termagaunt, that was heore brother. 
He left no lym hoi witte other, 

Ne on his lorde feynt Mahoun, &c. 

The Soldan then releafes thirty thoufand chriftians, whom 
lie had long detained prifoners. As an apoflate from the 
pagan religion, he is powerfully attacked by feveral neigh- 
bouring Saracen nations : but he foUicits the afliftance of 
his father-in-law the king of Tars ; and they both joining 
their armies, in a pitched battle, defeat five Saracen kings,, 
Kenedoch, Lefyas king of Taborie, Merkel, Cleomadas, and 
Membrok. There is a warmth of defcription in fome paf- 
fages of this poem, not unlike the manner of Chaucer. The 
reader muft have ahxady obferved, that the ftanza refembles 
that of Chaucer's Rime of Sir Topas '^. 

^ The romance of Sir Li beaux or Lybius Djsconivs, quoted by Chaucer, is in; 
this ftanza MSS, Cott. Cal. h. 2. f, 40. 



Ipomedon is mentioned among the romances in the Pro- 
logue of Richard Cuer de Lyon ; which, in an antient 
copy of the Britifli Mufeum, is called Syr Ipomydon : a 
name borrowed from the Theban war, and transferred here 
to a tale of the feudal times \ This piece is evidently 
derived from a French original. Our hero Ippomedon is fon 
of Ermones king of Apulia, and his miftrefs is the fair 
heirefs of Calabria. About the year 1230, William Ferra- 
bras ', and his brethren, fons of Tancred the Norman, and 
well known in the romantic hiftory of the Paladins, ac- 
quired the fignories of Apulia and Calabria. But our Englifh 
romance feems to be immediately tranflated from the French ; 
for Ermones is called king of Poykj or Apulia, which in 
French is Pouille. I have tranfcribed fome of the mofl in- 
terelling palTages \ 

Ippomedon, although the fon of a king, is introduced 
waiting in his father's hall, at a grand feftival. This fer- 
vitude was fo far from being diflionourable, that it was 
always required as a preparatory flep to knighthood ". 

Everie yere the kyng weld 
At Whytfuntyde a fefl held 
Of dukis, erlis, and barouns, 
Mani ther com frome diverfe tounes, 
Ladyes, maydens, gentill and fre, 
Come thedyr frome ferre countre : 
And grette lordis of ferre lond, 
Thedyr were prayd by fore the bond ". 
Whan all were com to gidyr than 
Ther was joy of mani a man -, 

' MSS. Harl. 2252. 44. f. 54. And in ^ Bras defer. Iron arms. 

the library of Lincoln cathedral, (K k. 3. * MSS. f. 55. 

10.) is an ancient imperfedl printed copy, " See p. fupr. 

wanting the lirft Iheet. "" Before-hand. 



Ffull ryche I wene were there pryfe, 

Ffor better might no man devyfe. 

Ippomcdon that day fervyde in halle. 

All fpake of hym both grete and fmalle, 

Ladyes and mayden by h^lde hym on^ 

So goodly a youth they had fene non : 

Hys feyre chere in halle theym fmerte 

That mony a lady fon fmote throw the herte^ 

And in theyr hartys they made mone 

That there lordis ne were fuche one. 

After mete they went to pley. 

All the peple, as I you fay ; 

Some to chambre, and fome to boure,. 

And fome to the hye toure " ;, 

And fome on the halle flode 

And fpake what hem thoht goda.r 

Men that were of that cite ^ 

Enquired of men of other cuntre, &g. 

Here a converfation commences concerning the heirefs of 
Calabria: and the young prince Ippomedon immediately 
forms a refolution to vifit and to win her. He fets out in 

Now they furth go on their way, 
Ippomedon to hys men gan fay, 
That thei be none of them alle. 
So hardi by his name hym calle, 
Whenfo thei wend farre or neare. 
Or over the ftraunge ryvere^ 

" In the feudal caftles, where many per- amufement invented. One of thefe, was 

fons of both fexes were aflembled, and to mount to the top of one of the higheft 

who did not know how to fpend the time, towers in the caflle, 
it is natural to fuppofe that different parties y The Apulians. 

were formed, and different fchemes of 



Ne no man telle what I am 

Where I fchall go, ne where I came, 

All they graunted his commaundement. 

And furthe thei went with one confent. 

Ippomedon and Thelomew 

Robys had on and mantills newe. 

Of the richeft that might be, 

Ther nas ne fuche in that cuntree : 

Ffor many was the riche ftone 

That the mantills were uppon. 

So long there waie they have nome? 

That to Calabre they are come : 

Thei come to the caftell yate 

The porter was redy there at. 

The porter to them thei gan calle 

And prayd him go into the halle 

And fay thy lady * gent and fre, 

That commen are men of farre contree. 

And yf yt pleafe hir we will her pray, 

That we might ete with hyr to day. 

The porter feyd full corteflly 

" Your errand to do I am redy." 

The ladie to her mete was fette. 

The porter cam and fayr her grette, 

" Madame, he feyde, god yow fave, 

" At your gate geftis you have, 

" Straunge men us for to fe 

'^ Thei afke mete for chary te." 

The ladie commaundeth fone anone 

That the gates wer undone, 

^ Took. to underftand fuch a charafter. See a flory 

^ She Was lady, by inheritance, of the of a Comfeje, who entertains a knight in 

fignory. The female feudataries exercifed her caflle with much gallantry. Mem. fur 

all the duties and honours of their feudal Tanc. Chev. ii. 69. It it well knowti that 

jurifdiftion in perfon. In Spenfer, where anciently in England ladies were iheriffs of 

we read of the Lady of the Caflle, we are counties. 




" And brynge them alle bifore me 
" Ffor welle at efe fhall thei be.'* 
Thei took heyr pagis hors and alle, 
Thefe two men went into the hallCj 
Ippomedon on knees hym fette. 
And the ladye feyre he grette : 

I am a man of ftraunge countre 

And prye yow of your will to be 

That I myght dwelle with you to gei'e 

Of your nourture for to lere ^ 

I am com from farre lond; 

Ffor fpeche I here bi fore the hand 

That your nourture and your fervyfe, 

Ys holden of fo grete empryfe, 

I pray you that I may dwell here 

Some of your fervyfe to here." 
The ladye by held Ippomedon, 
He femed wel a gentilmon, 
She knew non fuche in her lande. 
So goodli a man and wel farrand ^ ; 
She fawe alfo bi his norture 
He was a man of grete valure : 
She caft ful fone in hire thoght 
That for no fervyfe cum he noght j 
But hit was worfhip her untoo 
In feir fervyfe hym to do. " - 

She fayd, " Syr, welcome ye be. 

And al that comyn be with the ; 

Sithe ye have had fo grete travayle, 

Of a fervyfe ye fhall not fayle : 

In this cuntre ye may dwell here 

And al your will for to here, 








•» Learn. ^ Handfome. 

Vol. L D d '' Of 







of the cuppe ye fhall ferve me 

And all your men with you fhal be. 

Ye may dwell here at your wille. 

Bote ^ your beryng be full ylle." 

Madame, he faid, grantmercy.'' 
He thanked the ladye corteyfly. 
She commandith him to the mete,. 
But or he fette in ony fete. 
He faluted theym greete and fmalle. 
As a gentillmon fhuld in halle 5 
All thei faid fone anon, 
Thei faw nevir fo godli a mon, 
Ne fo light, ne fo glad, 
Ne non that fo ryche atire had : 
There was none that fat nor yede % 
But thei had merveille of his dede \ 
And feyd, he was no lytell fyre 
That myht fhowe foche atyre» 
Whan thei had ete, and grace fayd. 
And the tabyll awaye was layd j 
Upp then aroos Ippomedon, 
Ant to the bottery he went anon,, 
Ant hys mantyl hym a boute y 
On hym lokyd all the route. 
Ant everie mon feyd to other there. 

Will ye fe the proude fqueer 

Shall ferve ^ my ladye of the wyne, 

In hys mantyll that is fo fyne ?" 
That they hym fcornyd wift he noght 
On othyr thyng he had his thoght. 
He toke the cuppe of the botelere, 
And drewe a lace of fylke ful clere, 

<* Unlefs. « Walked. * Behaviour. t « Who is to ferve.'* 



Adowne than felle hys mantylle by, 

He preyed hym for hys curtefy, 

That lytell gyfte ^ that he wold nome 

Teil afte fum better come. 

Up it toke the bottelere, 

By fore the lady he gan it bere 

Ant preyd the ladye hartely 

To thanke hym of his curteflie, 

Al that was tho in the halle 

Crete honoure they fpake hym alle. 

And fayde he was no lytyll man 

That fuch gyftis giffie kan. 

There he dwelled moni a day, 

And fervyd the ladye wel to pay, 

He bare hym on fo fayre manere 

To knightis, ladyes, and fquyere. 

All loved hym that com hym by, 

Ffor he bare hym fo corteilly. 

The ladye had a cofyn that hight Jafon, 

Full well he loved Ippomedon^ 

When that he yed in or oute, 

Jafon went with hym aboute. 

The lady lay, but fhe flept noght, 

For of the fquyerre fhe had grete thoght; 

How he was fcyre and fhape wele. 

Body and armes, and everie dele: 

Ther was non in al hir ionde 

So wel he femyd dougci. of honde. 

But file howde wele for no cafe. 

Whence he came nor what he was, 

Ne of no man could enquere, 

Other than of that fquyere. 

^ i, e. His mantle^ 

D d 2 She 







She hire bi thought of a quayntyfe. 
If fhe miht know in any wife, 
To wete whereof he were come ; 
This was hyr thoght al their fome 
She tlioght to wode hyr men to tame ' 
That (he myght knowe hym by his game*. 
On the morow whan yt was day 
To her men fhe gan to fay, 

To morrowe whan it is day hght, 

Lok ye be al redy dight, 

With your houndis more and lefTe,, 

In fforreft to take my greffe. 

And thare I will myfelf be 

Your game to by holde and fe." 
Ippomedon had houndis three 
That he broght from his cuntree ; 
Whan thei were to the wode gone. 
This ladye and her men ichone, 
And with them her houndis ladde. 
All that any houndis hadde. 
Syr Tholomew for gate he noght, 
Hys maiflres houndes thedyr he broght. 
That many a day he had ronne ere, 
Fful wel he thoght to note hem there. 
When thei came to the launde on hight, 
The quenes pavylyon thar was pight, 
That fhe might fee al the befl. 
All the game of the forreft, 
And to the lady broght mani a befl ^^ 
Herte and hynd, buck and doo. 
And othir beftis many mo. 
The houndis that wer of gret prife. 
Plucked down dere all atryfe, 

' f. Tempt. ^ Beaft. 



Ippomedon he with his hounds throo 

Drew down both buck and doo, 

More he took with houndes thre 

Than al that othir cumpagnie, 

Thare fquyres undyd hyr dere 

Eche man after his manere : 

Ippomedon a dere gede unto, 

That ful konningly gon he hit unda. 

So feyre that venyfon he gan to dight, 

That both hym by held fquyere and knight: 

The ladye looked oute of her pavylyon, 

And fawe hym dight the venyfon. 

There fhe had grete dainte 

And fo had all that dyd hym fee : 

She fawe all that he down droughe 

Of huntynge flie wifl he coude ynoghe 

And thoght in her hert then 

That he was com of gentillmen : 

She bade Jafon hire men to calle 

Home then pafTyd grete and fmalle : 

Home thei com fon anon, 

This ladye to hir met gan gon. 

And of venery ' had her fille 

Ffor they had take game at wille. 

He is afterwards knighted with great folemnity. 

The heraudes gaff the childe "* the gee. 
And M pounde he had to fee, 
Mynftrelles had giftes of gold 
And fourty dayes thys fefl was holde ". 

The metrical romance entitled, La Mort Arthure, pre- 
ferved in the fame repofitory, is fuppofed by the learned and 

' Vcnifon. ^ Ippomedon. " MS. f. 6]|. b. 



accurate Wanley, to be a tranflation from the French : who 
adds, that it is not perhaps older than the times of Henry 
the feventh \ But as it abounds with many Saxon words, 
and feems to be quoted in Syr Bevys, I have given it a 
place here ^ Notwithftanding the title and the exordium, 
which promifes the hiflory of Arthur and the Sangreal, the 
exploits of Sir Lancelot du Lake king of Benwike, his in- 
trigues with Arthur's queen Geneura, and his refufal of the 
beautiful daughter of the earl of Afcalot, form the greateft 
part of the poem. At the clofe, the repentance of Lancelot 
and Geneura^ who both aflume the habit of religion, is in- 
troduced. The writer mentions the tower of London. The 
following is a defcription of a tournament performed by fome 
of the knights of the Round Table ^ 

Tho to the caftelle gon they fare. 

To the ladye fayre and bryhte : 
Blithe was the ladye thare, 

That thei wold dwell with her that nyght. 
Haftely was there foper yare ' 

Of mete and drinke richely dight ; 
On the morowe gan thei dine and fare 

Both Lancellot and that othir knight. 
Whan they come in to the felde, 

Myche ther v/as of game and play, 
Awhile they lovid * and bi held 

How Arthur's knightis rode that day, 
Galehodis party bigun to " held. 

On fote his knightis ar led away, 
Launcellott ftiffe was undyr fchelde, 

Thenkis to help yf that he may. 

• MSS. Harl. 2252. 49. f. 86. Pr. ' Ready. See Glossary to the Ox- 

" Lordinges that are lefFe and deare." ford edition of Shakefpeare, 1771. In Foe. 

Never printed. = Hovered. ' Sir Galaad's 

P Signat. K. ii. b. ^ MS. f. 89. b. « Perhaps jf/</, i.e. yield. 




Befyde him come than fyr Gawayne, 

Breme "" as eny wilde bore j 
Lancellot fpringis hem agayne ", 

In rede armys that he bore : 
A dynte he gaff with mekill mayne, 

Syr Ewayne was unhorfid thare,. 
That al men went ^ he had ben ilayne 

So was he woundyd wondyr fare ^, 
Syr Beorte thoughte no thinge good, 

When Syr Ewaine unhorfyd was ; 
Fforth he fpringis, as he were wode. 

To Launcelott withouten lefe : 
Launcellott hitt hym on the hode. 

The next way to grounde he chefe : 
Was non fo ftifFe agayne hym ftode 

Fful thin he made the thikkefl prees \ 
Syr Lyonell be gonne to tene ^ 

And haftely he made hym bowne «, 
To Launcellott, with herte kene. 

He rode with helme and fvvord browne 5 
Launcellott hytt hym as I wene, 

Through the helme in to the crowne : 
That eny aftir it was fene 

Bothe horfe and man ther yod adoune». 
The knightis gadrede to gedre than. 

And gan with crafte, 6cc. 

I could give many more ample fpecimens of the romantic 
poems of thefe namelefs minftrels, who probably flourifhed 
before or about the reign of Edward the fecond \ But it 

* Fiarce. * Agalnft. y Weened, OSia'vian Imperotor, but it has nothing of 
^ Sore. * Crowd. '' Be Troubled. the hiftory of the Roman emperors. Fr. 

* Ready. " Jhefu ^at was with fpere yftonge." Ca- 
•* 0£la'vian\% one of the romances men- lig. A, 12. f. 20. It is a very Angular 

tioned in the Prologue to Cure de Lyon, ftanza. In bifhop More's manufcripts at 
above cited. See alfo p. 119. In the Cotton Cambridge, there is a poem with the fame 
manufcripts there is the metrical romance of title, but a vcrj' different beginning, viz. 




is neither my inclination nor intention to write a catalogue, 
or compile a mifcellany. It is not to be expe6led that this 
work lliould be a general repofitory of our antient poetry. 
J cannot however help obferving, that Englifh literature and 

" LytyU and mykyll olde and yo^inge." 
Bibl. Publ. 690. 30. The emperor OJla- 
'vyea, perhaps the fame as mentioned in 
Chaucer's Drcme, v. 368. Among Hat- 
ton's manufcripts in Bibl. Bodl. we have 
a French poem, Rcmaunce de Othenitm Em- 
pet; ur de Rome. Hyper. Bodl. 4046. 21. 
In the fame line of the aforefaid Pro- 
logue, we have the romance of Ury. This 
is probably the father of the celebrated Sir 
Ewaine or Yvain^ mentioned in the Court 
Mantelh Mem. Anc. Cheval. ii. p. 62. 

Li rois pris par la deftre main 
L'amiz monfeignor Yvain 
Qui au roiUk.ien fu filz, 
Et bons chevaliers ethardiz, 
Qui tant ama chiens et oifiaux. 

Specimens of the Englifh Syr Bei>ys may 
be feen in Percy's Ball. iii. 216, 217, 297. 
edit. 1767. And tjhj'er'vations on ihe Fairy 
i^teeny §. ii. p. 50. It is extant in the 
black letter. It is in manufcript at Cam- 
bridge, Bibl. Publ. 690. 30. And Coll, 
Caii. A. 9. 5. And MSS. B;bl. Adv. 
Edingb. Vv''. 4. i. Num. xxii. 

Sidracke tranflated into Englifh verfe 
by one Hugh Campden j and printed, 
probably not left"; after it was tranflated, 
»t London, byllitimas Godfrey, at the colt 
of Dan Robert S.altwood, monk of faint 
AuiHn's in Cant'-jrbury, 1 5 10. This piece 
therefore belongs to --. lower period. I have 
feen only one manufc " t copy of it. Laud, 
G. 57. fol. membrda. 

Chaucer mentions, -^u Sir Tnpaxy among 
others, the romantic poems oi Sir Blanda- 
rnottrey Sir Libeauxy and Sir Ippotis. Of 
the former I find nothing: more than the 
name occurring in Sir Libennx To avoid 
prolix repetitions from other works in the 
hands of all, I refer the reader to Percy's 
Ejjay cu antient mitrical Romances, who has 
analyfed the plan of Sir Libeaux, or Sir 
Libius Di/conius, at large, p. 1,7. See alfo 
p. 24* ibid. 

As to Sir Ippotis, an antient poem with 
that title occurs in manufcript. MSS. Cot- 
ton, Calig. A. 2. f. 77. and MS. Vernon, 
f. 296. But as Chaucer is fpeaking of ro- 
mances of chivalry, which he means to ri- 
dicule, and this is a religious legend, it may 
be doubted whether this is the piece alluded 
to by Chaucer. However I will here exhi- 
bit a fpecimen of it from the exordium. 
MS. Vernon, f. 296. 

Her hi ginnith a trefys 

1 hat men clepeth YPOTIS. 
Alle that vvolleth of wifdom lere, 
Lukeneth now, and ze may here ; 
Of a tale of holi writ 
Seynt John the evangelilt witneffeth it, 
How hit bifelle in grete Rome, 
The cheef citee of criilendome, 
A childe was fent of mihtes moft, 
Thorovv vertue of the holi goft : 
The emperour of Rome than 
His name was hoten fire Adrian : 
And when the child of grete honour 
Was come bifore the emperour, 
Upon his knees he him fette 
The emperour full faire he grette : 
The emperour with milde chere, 
Afkede him whethence he come were, &c. 

We fhall have occafion, in the progrefs of 
our poetry, to bring other fpecimens of 
thefe compofitioiis. See Obf. on Spenfer's 
Fairy Queen, ii. 42. 43. 

I muft not forget here, that Sir Gawaine, 
lone of Arthur's champions, is celebrated in 
a feparate romance. Among Tanner's ma- 
nufcripts, v/e have the Weddyngcof SirGa- 
•u-'ayne. Numb. 455. Bibl. Bodl. It begins, 
•' Be ye blythe and lifteneth to the lyf of a 
" lorde riche. Dr. Percy has printed the 
Marriage of Sir Ga-ivayne, which he be- 
lieves to have furnifhed Chaucer with his 
IV/fe of Bah. Ball. i. 11. It begins, 
" King Arthur lives in merry Carlifle." 
1 think I have fomewhere feen a romance in 
verfe emitled, The Turke and Gaxvaine." 



Englifh poetry fuffer, while fo many pieces of this kind flill 
remain concealed and forgotten in our manufcript libraries. 
They contain in common with the profe romances, to moft 
of which indeed they gave rife, amufnig images of anrient 
cufloms and inflitutions, not elfcwhere to be found, or at 
leafl not otherwife fo ftrikingly delineated : and they preferve 
pure and unmixed, thofe fables of chivalry which formed 
the tafle and awakened the imagination of our elder Englifh 
claffics. The antiquaries of former times overlooked or re- 
je6led thefe valuable remains, which they defpifed as falfe 
and frivolous ; and employed their induflry in reviving ob- 
fcure fragments of uninfbru6live morality or unintereiling 
hiflory. But in the prefent age we are beginning to make 
ample amends : in which the curiofity of the antiquarian is 
conne6led with tafte and genius, and his refearches tend to 
difplay the progrefs of human manners, and to illuftrate the 
hiflory of fociety. 

As a further illuflration of the general fubjeft, and many 
particulars of this fe6lion and the three lafl, I will add a new 
proof of the reverence in which fuch flories were held, and 
of the familiarity with which they mufl have been known by 
our anceflors. Thefe fables were not only perpetually re- 
peated at their feflivals, but were the conflant ob}e6ls of their 
eyes. The very walls of their apartments were clothed with 
romantic hiflory. Tapeftry was antiently the fafhionable 
furniture of -our houfes, and it was chiefly filled with lively 
reprefentations of this fort. The flories of the tapeflry in 
the royal palaces of Henry the eighth are flill preferved " j 
which I will here give without referve, including other fub- 
je6ls as they happen to occur, equally defcriptive of the 
times. In the tapeflry of the tower of London, the original 

* " The feconde part of the Inventorye bold- fluff. Sec &c." MSS. Harl. 1419. 
<Jf our late fovereigne lord kyng Henry the fol. The original. Compare p. 114. fupr. 
eighth, conteynynge his guardrobes, houf- and Walpole s Anecd. Paint, i. p. lo. 

VoLL E e and 



and moft antient feat of our monarchs, there are recited 
Godfrey of Bulloign, the three kings of Cologn, the emperor 
Conflantine, faint George, king Erkenwald ^, the hiftory of 
Hercules, Fame and Honour, the Triumph of Divinity, 
Eflher and Ahafuerus, Jupiter and Juno, faint George, the 
eight Kings, the ten Kings of France, the Birth of our Lord, 
Duke Jofhua, the riche hiftory of king David, the feven 
Deadly Sins, the richs hiftory of the PafTion, the Stem of 
Jefle ^ our Lady and Son, king Solomon, the Woman of Ca- 
nony, Meleager, and the dance of Maccabre ''. At Durham- 
place we find the Citie of Ladies \ the tapeftrie of Thebes 
and of Troy, the City of Peace, the Prodigal Son '", Efther, 
and other pieces of fcripture. At Windfor caftle the fiege of 
Jerufalem, Ahafuerus, Charlemagne, the fiege of Troy, and 

^ So in the record. But he was the 
third bifliop of St. Paul's, London, fon of 
king OfFa, and a great benefactor to St. 
Paul's church, in which he had a mcft fu- 
perb fhrine. He was canonifed. Dugdale, 
among many other curious particulars re- 
lating to his fhrine, fays, that in the year 
1339, it was decorated anew, when three 
goldfmiths, two at the wages of five ihil- 
lings by the week, and one at eight, worked 
upon it for a whole year. Hiit. St. Paul's, 
p. 21. See alfop. 233. 

s This was a favourite fubjedl for a large 
gothic window. This fubjedl alfo com- 
pofed a branch of candlefticks, thence called 
a Jesse, not unufual in the antient churches. 
In the year 1097, Hugo de Flori, abbot of 
S. Auft. Canterb. bought for the choir of 
his church agreat branch candleftick. "Can- 
** delabrum magnum in choro asneum quod 
*' y^i^ vocaiur in partibus emit tranfmari- 
" nis." Thorn, Dec. Script, col. 1796. 
About the year 1330, Adam de Sodbury, 
abbot of Glartonbury, gave to his convent 
" Unum dorfale laneum /f Jesse." Hearn. 
Joan. Glafton. p. 265. That is, a piece of 
tapeftry embroidered with the Jiem of JeJ/e, 
to be hung round the choir, or other parts 
of the church on high feftivals. He alfo 
gave a tapeftry of this fubjeft for the ab- 

bot's hall. Ibid. And I cannot help ad- 
ding, what indeed is not immediately con- 
nefted with the fubjeft of this note, that 
he gave his monaftery, among other coftly 
prefents, a great clock, procefTionibus et 
fpeftaculis infignitum, an organ of prodi- 
gious fize, and eleven bells, fix for the 
tower of the church, and five for the clock 
tower. He alfo new vaulted the nave of 
the church, and adorned the new roof with 
beautiful paintings. Ibid. 

'' f . 6 In many churches of France there 
was an antient fhew or mimicry, in which 
all ranks of life were perfonated by the 
ecclefiaftics, who all danced together, and 
difappeared one after another. It was called 
Dance Maccabre, and feems to have 
been often performed in St. Innocent's at 
Paris, where was a famous painting on 
this fubjeft, which gave rife to Lydgate's 
poem under the fame title. See Carpent. 
Suppl. Du Cange, Lat. Gl. ii. p. 1103. 
More will be faid of it when we come to 

^ A famous French allegorical romance. 

'' A pifture on this favourite fubjeft is 
mentioned in Shakefpeare. And in Ran- 
dolph's Mufes Looking-Glajs. " In painted 
'• cloth the ftory of the Prodigal." 




hawking and hunting \ At Nottingham caftle Amys and 
Amelion ". At Woodftock manor, the tapeftrie of Charle- 
magne ". At the More, a palace in Hertfordfhire, king 
Arthur, Hercules, Aftyages and Cyrus. At Richmond, the 
arras of Sir Bevis, and Virtue and Vice fighting °. Many of 
thefe fubje6ls are repeated at Weftminfler, Greenwich, Gate- 
lands, Bedington in Surry, and other royal feats, fome of 
which are now unknown as fuch ^ Among the reft v/e have 
alfo Hannibal, Holofernes, Romulus and Remus, yEneas, 
and Sufannah ^ I have mentioned romances written on 
many of thefe fubje6ls, and Ihall mention others. In the 
romance of Syr Guy, that hero's combat with the dragon in 
Northumberland is faid to be reprefented in tapeftry in War- 
wick caftle. 

In Warwike the truth fliall ye fee 
In arras wrought ful craftely '. 

This piece of tapeftry appears to have been in Warwick 
caftle before the year 1398. It was then fo diftinguifhed 
and valued a piece of furniture, that a fpecial grant was 
made of it by king Richard the fecondin that year, conveying 
that fuit of arras hangings in V/arwick caftle, which con- 
tained the ftory of the famous Guy earl of Warwick," 



J f. 298. •" f. 364. 

" f. 318. " f. 346. 

P Some of the tapeftry at Hampton-court, 
defcribed in this inventory, is to be feen 
ftill in a fine old room, now remaining in 
its original ftate, called the Exchequer. 

"5 Montfaucon, among the tapeftry of 
Charles the Fifth, king of France, in the 
year 1370, mentions, Le lappis de la 'uie 
du faint -Thejeus. Here the officer who 
made the entry calls Thefeus a faint. The 
fe-ven Deadly infis, Le Jaint Graal, Le gro.imt 
tappis de Neuf Preux, Reyne d^ Ireland, and 
Godfrey of Biilhign. Monum. Fr. iii. 64. 
The neiif preux are the Nine Worthies. 
Among the ftores of Htnry the eighth, 

taken as above, we have, " two old ftayned 
" clothes for the ix worthies for the greate 
" chamber," at Newhall in EfTex, f. 362. 
Thefe were pidlures. Again, at the palace 
of Weftminller, in the little ftitd^ called the 
Nc-cve Librarye, which I believe was in 
Holbein's elegant Gothic gatehoufe lately 
demoliihed, there is, " Item, xii pidlures 
" of men on horfebacke of enamelled ftuifc 
" of the Nyne Worthies, and others upon 
*' fquare tables." f. 188. MSS. Harl. 141 9. 
ut fupr. 

■■ Signat. . Ca. 1. Some perhaps may 
think this circumftance an innovation ' or 
addition of later minftrels. A pradice not 

E e 2 together 


together with the caflle of Warwick, and other pofTefHons, 
to Thomas Holland, earl of Kent '. And in the reftoration 
of forfeited property to this lord after his imprifonment, 
thefe hangings are particularly fpecified in the patent of 
king Henry the fourth, dated 1399. When Margaret, 
daughter of king Henry the feventh, was married to James 
king of Scotland, in the year 1503, Holyrood Houfe at 
Edinburgh was fplendidly decorated on that occafion j and 
we are told in an antient record, that the " hanginge of the 
" queenes grett chammer reprefented the yftory of Troye 
" toune." Again, " the king's grett chammer had one table, 
wer was fatt, hys chammerlayn, the grett fqyer, and 
many others, well ferved j the which chammer was 
haunged about with the ftory of Hercules, together with 
other yftorys '." And at the fame folemnity, " in the hall 
wher the qwene's company wer fatt in lyke as in the other, 
an wich was haunged of the hiftory of Hercules, 6cc ''." 
A ftately chamber in the caftle of Hefdin in Artois, was 
furnifhed by a duke of Burgundy with the ftory of Jafbn 
and the Golden Fleece, about the year 1468 "". The affecting 
ftory of Coucy's Heart, which gave rife to an old metrical 
Englifti romance entitled, the Knight of Courtesy, and the 
Lady of Faguel, was woven in tapeftry in Coucy caftle 
in France ". I have feen an antient fuite of arras, containing 
Ariofto's Orlando and Angelica, where, at every groupe, th& 
ftory was all along illuftrated with fhort rhymes in romance 
or old French. Spenfer fometimes dreffes the fuperb bowers 
of his fairy caftles with this fort of hiftorical drapery. 

* Dugd. Bar. i. p. 237. " finerint les amours du Chaftelain do 

^ Leland. Coll. vol. iii. p. 295. 296. " Couci et de la dame de Faiel." Our 

Opufcul. edit. 1770. Caftellan, whole name is Regnard de 

Ibid. ^^ See Obf. Fair. Qu. i. p. 177. Couci, was famous for his chanjons and 





"" Howcl's Letters, xx. § B. 1. This chivalry, but more fo for his unfortunate 

is a true ftory, about the year 1 180. Fau- love, which became proverbial in the old 

chett relates it at large from an old authentic French romances. See Fauch. Rec. p. 1 24- 

French chj^onicle ; and then adds, " Ain/i 128. 



In Hawes's Poem called the Pastime of Pleasure, written 
in the reign of Henry the feventh, of which due notice will 
be taken in its proper place, the hero of the piece fees all 
his future adventures difplayed at large in the fumptuous 
tapeftry of the hall of a cafllc. I have before mentioned the 
moft valuable and perhaps moil: antient work of this fort 
now exifting, the entire feries of duke William's defcent on 
England, preferved in the church of Bayeux in Normandy,' 
and intended as an ornament of the choir on high feftivals. 
Bartholinus relates, that it was an art much cultivated 
among the antient iflanders, to weave the hiftories of their 
giants and champions in tapeftry ''. The fame thing is re- 
corded of the old Perfians ; and this furniture is ftill in high 
requeft among many oriental nations, particularly in Japan 
and China ^. It is well known, that to frame pi6lures of 
heroic adventures in needle-work, was a favourite pra6lice 
of claflical antiquity. 

y Antlquit. Dan. Lib. i. 9. p. 51, is of the fineft filk, wrought by the moft 

^ In the royal palace of Jeddo, which fkilful artificers of that country, and adorned 

overflows with a profufion of the moft ex- with pearls, gold, and filver. Mod. Univ» 

quifite and fuperb eaftern embellifhments, Hift. B.xiii. c. ii. vol. ix. p. 83. (Not. G.) 

the tapeftry of the emperor's audience-hall edit. 1759. 




ALTHOUGH much poetry began to be written about 
the reign of Edward the fccond, yet I have found 
only one EngHfh poet of that reign whofe name has de- 
fcended to pofterity '. This is Adam Davy or Davie. He 
may be placed about the year 1 3 1 2'. I can colle6l no cir- 
cumftances of his life, but that he was marfhall of Strat- 
ford-le-bow near London ^. He has left feveral poems never 
printed, which are almoft as forgotten as his name. Only 
one manufcript of thefe pieces now remains, which feems 
to be coeval with it's author \ They are Visions, The Bat- 
tell OF Jerusalem, The Legend of Saint Alexius, 
Scripture histories, of fifteen toknes before the 
day of Judgement, Lamentations of Souls, and The 
Life of Alexander ^ 

In the Visions, which are of the religious kind, Adam 
Davie draws this pi6lure of Edward the fecond {landing be- 
fore the flirine of Edward the ConfefTor in Weftminfter 
abbey at his coronation. The lines have a flrength arifing 
from fimplicity. 

To our Lorde Jefliu Crift in heven 
Iche to day Ihawe myne fweven % 

' Robert de Brunne, above-mentioned, ^ In the manufcript there is alfo a piece 

lived, and perhaps wrote feme of his pieces, in profe, intitled, Ti>e Pylgnmages of the 

in this reign ; but he more properly belongs holt land. f. 65. — 66. It begins, *' Qwerr 

to the lall. " foever a cros ftandyth ther is a for- 

** This will appear from citations which " jivenes of payne." I think it is a 

follow. defcription of the holy places, and it ap- 

" MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Laud I. 74, fol. pears at lead to be of the hand-writing of 

membran. It has been much damaged, and the reft, 
ov that- account is often illegible. « Dream. 



That iche motte ^ in one nycht, 

Of a knycht of mychel mycht : 

His name is ^ yhote fyr Edward the kyng. 

Prince of Wales Engelonde the fair thynge j 

Me mott that he was armid wele, 

Bothe with yrne and with ftele, 

And on his helme that was of flel, 

A coroune of gold bicom him wel. 

Bifore the fhryne of Seint Edward he flood, 

Myd glad chere and myld of mood ''. 

Moft of thefe Vifions are compliments to the king. Our 
poet then proceeds thus ; 


Another fuevene me mette on a twefnit ' 

Bifore the feft of Alhalewen of that ilke knigt. 

His name is nempned ^ hure bifore, 

BlilTed be the time that he was bore, &c. 

Of Syr Edward oure derworth ' kyng 

Iche mette of him anothere faire metyng, 6cc. 

Me thought he wod upon an afTe, 

And that ich take God to witnefTe j 

A wondur he was in a mantell gray. 

Toward Rome he nom "" his way, 

Upon his hevede fate a gray hure. 

It femed him wel a mefure^ 

He wood withouten hofe and fho. 

His wonen was not fo to do ; 

His fliankes femeden al bloodrede, 

Myne herte wop " for grete drede j 

As a pylgrym he rood to Rome, 

And thider he com wel fwithe fone. 

* Thought, dreamed. In the firft fenfe, ? Named. *> fol. 27. ' Twelfth-night. 

we have me mette in Chaucer, Non. Pr. T. ^ Named. ' Dear-worthy. 

V. 1013. Urr. And below. ■' Took. " Wept. 




The thrid fuevene me mette a nigt 

Rigt of that derworth knight : 

On Wednyfday a nigt it was 

Next the dai of feint Lucie bifore Chriflenmafle, &c. 

Me thougth that ich was at Rome^ 

And thider iche come fwithe fone, 

The pope and fyr Edward our kyng 

Bothe ° hy hadde a new dublyng, &c. 

Thus Crift ful of grace 

Graunte our kyng in every place 

Maiflrie of his witherwines 

And of al wicked Sarafynes. 

Me met a fuevene one worthi^ ^ a nigth 

Of that ilche derworthi knigth, 

God iche it fhewe and to witnefTe take 

And fo fhilde me fro, &c. 

Into a chapel I cum of vre lefdy \ 

Jhe Crift her leve ' fon ftod by, 

On rod ' he was an loveliche mon, 

Al thiike that on rode was don 

He unneled ' his honden two, &c. 

Adam the marchal of Strattford atte Boive 

Wei fwithe wide his name is iknowe 

He himfelf mette this metyng, 

To witnefTe he taketh Jhu hevene kynge, 

On WedenyfTday ^ in clene leinte " 

A voyce me bede I fchulde nougt feinte. 

Of the fuevenes that her ben write 

I fhulde fwithe don " my lord kyng to wite. 

The Thurfday next the beryng ^ of our lefdy 

Me thougth an aungel com fyr Edward by, &c. 

• They. 
< Lady. 
» Crofs. 
" Lent. 

p Worjjig. Orig. 
^ Dear. 
' Unnailed. 

" Wodenis day. Woden's day. Wed- 

* Make hafte. 
y Chfiftmafs-day. 



Iche tell you forfoth withoutten les ', 

AIs God of hevene maide Marie to moder ches % 

The aungell com to me Adajn Davie and feide 

Bot thou Adafti fhewe this thee worthe wel yvel mede, 6cc, 

Whofo wil fpeke myd me Adam the marchal 

In Stretforde bowe he is yknown and over al, 

Iche ne fchewe nougt this for to have mede 

Bot for God almigtties drede. 

There is a very old profe romance, both in French and 
Italian, on the fubje6l of the DeJiruSfion of Jerufalem \ It 
is tranflated from a Latin work, in five books, very popular 
in the middle ages, entitled, Hegesippi de Bello Judaico et 
Excidio XJrhis Hierofolymitanc^ Libri qtiinqiie. This is a licen- 
tious paraphrafe of a part of Jofephus's Jewifh hiilory, 
made about the fourth century : and the name Hegefippus 
is moft probably corrupted from Jofephus, perhaps alfo 
called Jofippus. The paraphrail is fuppofed to be Ambrofe 
of Milan, w^ho flcrurifhed in the rergn of Theodofius ^ On 
the fubje6l of Vefpafian's fiege of Jerufalem, as related in 
:this book, our poet Adam Davie has left a poem entitled the 
-Bat TELL OF Jerusalem ^ It begin thus. 

■2 Lies. in 1491. fol. M. Beauchamps, Rech. Fr. 

^ " As fure as God chofe the Virgin Theat. p. 134. 

'** Mary to be Chriil'-s Mother." ^ He mentions Conilantinople and New 

'° In an antient inventory of books, all Rome : and the provinces of Scotia and 

French romances, made in England in the Saxonia. From this work the Maccabees 

reign of Edward the third, I find the ro- feem to have got into romance. It was 

mace of Titus and Vespasian. Madox', firfl: printed at Paris, fol. 151 i. Among 

Formal. Anglican, p. 12. See alfo Scipio the Bodleian manufcripts there is a molt 

MafFei's Traduttori Italiani, p. 48. Cre- beautiful copy of this book, believed to 

fcimbeni (Volg. Poef. vol. i. 1. 5. p. 317.) be written in the Saxon times. 

does not feem to have known of this ro- '' The latter part of this poem copears 

mance in Italian. Du Cange mentions Le detached, in a former part of our manu- 

Roman de la Pnfe de Jerufalem par Titus, fcript, with the title The Vengeaunce 

in verfe. Gloff. Let. i. Ind. Auct. of Goddes Death, viz. f. 22 b. This 

p. cxciv. A metrical romance on this fub- latter part begins with thefc lines, 

jeft is in the royal manufcripts. 16 E. viii. And at the fourty dayes ende, 

2. Biit. Muf. There is an old French play Whidcr I wolde he bade me wende, 

on this fubjeft, aded in 1437. It was printed Upoii the mount of olvvete, &c. 

Vol. I. F f " ' Liiteneth 


Lifteneth all that beth alyve, 
Both criften men and wyve : 
I wol you telle of a wondur cas. 
How Jhefu Crifl bihated was. 
Of the Jewes felle and kene, 
That was on him fithe yfene, 
Gofpelles I drawe to witnefle 
Of this matter more or lefTe, *" Sec. 

In the courfe of the ftory, Pilate challenges our Lord to 
fmgle combat. This fubjecl will occur again. 

Davie's Legend of saint Alexius the confessor, son 
OF EuPHEMius, is tranflated from Latin, and begins thus : 

All that willen here in ryme, 
Howe gode men in olde tyme, 

Loveden God almigthi 
That weren riche, of grete valoure, 
Kynges fones and emperoure 

Of bodies ftrong and ligth ; 
Zee habbeth yherde ofte in gefle, 
Of holi men maken felle 

Both day and nigth, 
For to have the joye in hevene 
(With aungells fong, and merry flevene,) 

The which is brode and brigth : 
To you all heige and lowe 
The rigth fothe to biknowe 

Zour foules for to fave, &c. ^ 

Our author's scripture histories want the beginning. 
Here tliey begin with Jofeph, and end with Daniel. 

' MS. ut fupr. f. 72. b. f MS. ut fupr. f. 22.-72. b. 



Ffor thritti pens ^ thei fold that childe 

The feller higth Judas, 
^ Itho Ruben com him and myfTed him 

For ynow he was \ 


are taken from the prophet Jeremiah. 

The firfl figne thar ageins, as our lord hymfelfe fede, 
Hungere fchal on erthe be, trecherie, and falHiede, 
Batteles, and littell love, fekenefle and haterede, 
And the erthe fchal quaken that vche man fchal ydrede : 
The mone fchal turne to blood, the funne to derkhede ', 6cc. 

Another of Davie's poems may be called the Lamenta- 
tion OF Souls. But the fubje6l is properly a congratula- 
tion of Chrift's advent, and the lamentation of the fouls 
of the fathers remaining in limbo, for his delay. 

Off joye and bliffe is my fong care to bileve "', 
And to here hym among that altour foroug fhal reve, 
Ycome he is that fv^ete dewe, that fwete hony drope, 
The kyng of alle kynges to whom is our hope : 
Becom he is our brother, whar was he fo long ? 
He it is and no other, that bougth us fo ftrong : 
Our brother we mowe " hym clepe wel ', fo feith hymfelf 
ilome ^ 

My readers will be perhaps furprifed to find our language 
improve fo flowly, and will probably think, that Adam Davie 
writes in a lefs intelligible phrafe than many more antient 
bards already cited. His obfcurity however arifes in great 

e Thirty-pence. ^ Ijjo. Orig. «" Leave. " May. 

^ MS. ut I'upr. f. 66. — 72. b. ' Sometimes. 

^ Tokens. ' MS. ut fupr. f. 71. b. p MS- ut fupr. f. 72. 

F f 2 meafure 


meafure from obfolete fpelling, a mark of antiquity which 
I have here obferved in exa6l conformity to a manufcript of 
the age of Edward the fecond; and which in the poetry of 
his predeceflbrs, efpecially the minftrell-pieces, has been, 
often effaced by multipUcation of copies, and other caufes. 
In the mean time it fhould be remarked, that the capricious 
pecuharities, and even ignorance of tranfcribers, often oc- 
cafion an obfcurity, which is not to be imputed either to the. 
author or his age ''. 

But Davie's capital poem is the Life of Alexander,. 
which deferves to be pubHfhed entire on many accounts. It 
feems to be founded chiefly on Simeon Seth's romance above- 
mentioned J but many pafTages are alfo copied from the 
French Roman d'Alexandre, a poem in our author's age 
perhaps equally popular both in England and France. It is^ 
a work of confiderable length '. I will firfl give fome ex~ 
tra6ls from the Prologue,. 

Divers in this myddel erde 
To lewed men and ' lered, &c. 
Natheles wel fele and fulle 
Bethe ifound in hart and fkulle. 
That hadden lever a rybaudye, 
Then here of god either feint Maryej 
Either to drynke a copful ale, 
Than to heren any gode tale : 
Swiche ich wolde weren out bifhet 
For certeynlich it were nett 
For hy ne habbeth wilbe ich woot wel 
Bot in the got and the barrel, &c. ' 

' Chaitcer In Troilus AND Cressida * "Leg. kn/. Learned, 

mentions " the grete diverfite in Englifh, . ^^^ ^^^^ ^ .^ ^^^^^ ^ ^g^ 
" and /« nvrtting of our tongue. He 

therefore prays God, that no perfon would Whilom clarkes wel ylerede 

mi/'write, or mijfe-metre his poem. lib. ult. On thre digten this myddel erdfe^ 

V. 1792. feq. And cleped him in her maiftrie, 

' MS. ut fupr. f. 28. — 65. Europe, AfFryk, and Afie : 



Adam Davie thus defcilbes a fplendid procefTion made by 

In thei tyme faire and jalyf . 
Olympias that fayre wyfe, 
Wolden make a riche fell 
Of knightes and lefdyes "" honefl. 
Of burges and of jugelors 
And of men of vch mefters % 
For mon feth by north and fouth ^ 

Wymen , . .. . 

Mychal ^ fhe defireth to fhewe hire body. 
Her fayre hare, her face rody % 
To have lees '' and al prailing. 
And al is folye by heven king, 
She has marlhales and knyttes 

., . . to ride and ryttes. 

And levadyes and demofile 
Which ham ..... thoufands fele. 
In fayre attyre in dy vers ^ . . . . 
Many thar rood ^ in rich wife. 
So. dude the dame Olympias 
Forto fhawe hire gentyll face. 
A mule alfo, whyte fo " mylke. 
With fadel of gold, fambuc of fylke. 
Was ybrought to the queue 
And mony bell of fylver fhene,^ 
Yfaftened on orfreys ^ of mounde 
That hangen nere downe to grounde: 

At Afie alfo mychel ys '^ Of each, or every, profeffion, trade. 

As Ethiope, and AfFryke, I wis, &c. fort. 

A- J J -..u *t,' j-A- u f /: ^ " AH mankind are agreed." 

And ends with this diftich. f. 65 . , ^^^^^ , ^^^^^- , p^^j^^^ 

Thus ended Ahfander the kyng : c p. Guife. <* Rode. " As. 

God graunte us his bliflyng. Amen. f Embroidered work, cloth of gold. 

" Jolly. ^ Ladies. Jurifrigrium, Lat. 




Fourth fhe ferd ^ myd her route, 
A thoufand lefydes of rych foute". 
A fperwek ' that was honefl ''. 
So fat on the lef dye's fyft : 
Ffoure trompes toforne ' hire blcwe ; 
Many men that day hire knewe. 
A hundred thoufand, and eke moo, 
" Alle alonton "^ hire untoo. 
All the towne bihonged " was 
Agens ** the lefdy Olympias ^ : 
Orgues, chymbes, vche maner glee ', 
Was drynan ayen that levady fre, 
Wythoutin the tounis murey ' 
Was mered vche maner pley ', 
Thar was knyttes tornaying, 
Thar was maydens karoling, 
Thar was champions fkirmynge ', 

alfo wreftlynge. 

Of lyons chace, and bare bayting, 
A bay of bore ", of bole flayting "". 
Al the city was byhonge 
With ryche famytes "" and pelles ^' longe. 
Dame Olympias, myd this prees % 
Sansle rood "^ al mantellefs. 

s Fared. Went. ^ Sort. 

* Sparrow-hawk. A hawk. 

k Well-bred. ' Before. 

"' Went. Jller, Fr. 

" " Hung with tapeftry." We find this 
ceremony praftifed at the entrance of lady 
Elifabeth, queen of Henry the feventh, 
into the ci^y of London. — Al the ftrets 
*' ther whiche fhe fliulde pafTe by wer clen- 
*' ly dreffed and befene with cloth, of tap- 
" peftrye and arras, and fome ftreetes, as 
*' Chepe, hanged with riche clothes of 
<* golde, velvettes, andfilkes." This was 
in the year 1481. Leland. Coll. in Opuf- 
cul.p. 220. edit. 1770. 

" " Againft her coming." 

I* See the defcription of the tournament 
in Chaucer, Knight's Tale, where the city 
is hanged with cloth of gold. v. 2570. Urr. 

•J " Organs, chimes, all manner of mufic." 

>■ The town wall. ^ "All forts of fports." 

' Skirmifhing. 

" ♦* Baying, or bayting of the boar." 

^^ Slaying bulls, bull-feaiis. Chaucer 
fays that the chamber of Venus was painted 
with " white holis grete." Compl. of Mars 
and Ven. v. 86. 

^ Sattin. y Skins. 

* Ci*oud. Company. * Rode fingle. 




Hire yalewe har ^ was fayre attired 
Mid riche ftrenge of golde wyred, 
It helyd ' hire abouten al 
To hire gentil myddie fmal. 
Bryght and fhine was hir face "^ 
Everie fairehede ' in hir was ^ 

Much in the fame flrain the marriage of Cleopatras is 

There was many a blithe grome : 
Of oUve and of ruge ^ floures 
Weren yilrewed halle and boures : 
Wyth famytes and baudekyns 
Weren curtayned the gardyns. 
All the innes of the ton 
Hadden litel foyfon •", 
That day that comin Cleopatras, 
So michel people with hir was. 
She rode on a mule white fo mylke, 
Her barneys were gold-beaten fylke : 

*> Yellow hair. 

■= " Covered her all over." 

^ fol. 55. a. ' Beauty. 

f John Gower, who lived an hundred' 
years after our author, has defcribed the 
fame proceflion. ConfefT. Amant. lib. vi. 
fol. 137. a. b. edit. Berthel. 1554. 

But in that citee then was 

The quene, whiche Olimpias 

Was hote, and with folempnitec 

The fefte of hir nativitee, 

As it befell, was than hold : 

And for hir luft to be behold, 

And preifed of the people about. 

She Ihop hir for to ridenout, 

AI aftir meet al opinly, 

Anon al men were redie ; 

And that was in the month of Male : 

This lufty quene in gode araie 

Was fette upon a mule white 

To fene it was a erete delite 

The joye that the citie made. 
With frefh thinges and with glade 
The noble towne was al behonged ; 
And everie wight was fon alonged 
To fee this lulHe ladie ryde. 
There was great mirth on al fyde. 
When as fhe pafTed by the ftreate 
There was ful many a tymbre beate, - 
And many a maide carolende. 
And thus throughout the town plaiende 
This quene unto the plaiene rode 
Whar that fhe hoved and abode 
To fe divers games plaie, 
The luftie folke juft and tornaye. 
And fo couth every other man 
Which play with, his play began, 
To pleafe with this noble queen. 

Gower continues this (lory, from a I'omance 
mentioned above, to fol. 140. 
' Red. ^ Provifion. 



The prince hir lad of Sandas, 
And of Sydoyne Sir Jonachas. 
Ten thoufand barons hir come myde, 
And to chirche with hir ryde. 
Yfpoufed fhe is and fett on deys : 
Nowe gynneth geftes of grete nobleys : 
At the feft was harpyng 
And pipyng and tabouryng \ 

We have frequent opportunities of obferving, how the 
poets of thefe times engraft the manners of chivalry on 
antient claffical hiftory. In the following lines, Alexander's 
education is like that of Sir Triftram. He is taught tilting, 
Jiunting, and hawking. 

Now can Alexander of fkirmyng, 
And of fledes derayning, 
Upon fledes of juftyng, 
And witte fwordes turneying, 
Of alTayling and defendyng : 
In green wood and of huntyng: 
And of ryver of haukyng '' : - 

Of battaile and of alle thyng. 

In another place Alexander is mo^inted on a fteed of Nar- 
bone ; and amid the folemnities of a great feaft, rides through 
the hall to the high table. This was no uncommon pra6lice 
in the ages of chivalry '. 

' fol, 63. a. — — Shall ye ryde 

u OL n r c- rri On l>a'why7ig by the ri'ver fyde. 

^ Chaucer, R. of Sir Thop. v. 3245. _, ■' *, / _, , 

Urry's edit. p. 141c. Chaucer, FrankletnsTale,y. 1752. p. ni. 

^ • r- 'ti* Urr. edit. 

He couth hunt al the wild dere, ^j^^f^ fauconers upon a faire rivere 

And nde an haukyng by the ri<vere. r^,^^^ ^^j^j^ ^j^e hawkis han the heron flaifte. 

And in the S/zyro/" Z.OZU /)«^r^f, fupr. citat. ' See Obfcrvations on the Fairy Queei, 

p. 179, i. §. V. p. i/f6. 


E N G L I S H P O E T R Y. 225 

On a flede of Narabone, 

He dasfheth forth upon thi londe, 

The ryche coioime on hys honde, 

Of Nicholas that he wan : 

Belide hym rydeth mony a gentil man, 

To the paleys he comethe ryde, 

And fyndeth this fefte and all this pryde -, 

Fforth good Alifaundre fauns ftable 

Righth unto the hith table ^ 

His horfe Bucephalus, who even in clalTical fiction is a horfc 
of romance, is thus defcribed. 

An home in the forehead armyd ward 
That wolde perce a fhelde hard. 

To which thefe lines may be added, 

Alifaunder arifen is, 

And in his deys fitteth ywys : 

His dukes and barons fauns doute 

Stondeth and fitteth him aboute, Sec ". 

The two following extra6ls are in a fofter ftrain, and not 
inelegant for the rude fimplicity of the times. 

Mery is the blaft of the ftynoure °, 

Mery is the touchyng of the harpoure ^ : 

'" fol. 64. Here, by the way, it appears, that the 

" MS. ut Aipr. f. 46. b. minftrels and juglers were diftinft charac- 

• I cannot explain this word. It is a ters. So Robert de Brunne, in defcribing 

wind-inilrument. the coronation of king Arthur, apud Anftis, 

P This poem has likewife, in the fame Ord. Gart. i. p. 304. 
vein, the following well-known old rhyme, 

which paints the manners, and is perhaps Jogeleurs wer ther inouh 

the true reading, fol. 64. That wer queitife for the drouh, 

Merry fwithe it is in halle MynfireU many with dyvers glew, &c. 

When the berdes ivanjeth alle. 

And in another place we have. And Chaucer mentions " minftreh and eke 

Merry it is in halle to here the harpe j " joglours'^ Rom. R. v. 764.^ But they 

The minftrelles fynge, the jogelours carpe. are often confounded or made the fame, 
fol. Jine num. ad fin. 

Vol. I. G '^ Sweete 


Sweete is the fmellynge of the flower, 
Sweete it is in maydens bower : 
Appel fweete beneth faire coloure ^, 


In tyme of May the nightingale 
In wood maketh mery gale, 
So don the foules grete and fmale, 
Sum in hylles and fum in dale '. 

Much the fame vernal delights, cloathed in a fnnilar ftyle, 
with the addition of knights turneying and maidens dancing, 
invite king Philip on a progrefs j who is entertained on the 
road with hearing tales of antient heroes. 

Mery tyme yt is in May 
The foules fyngeth her lay, 
The knightes loveth to tournay ; 
Maydens do dauncen and they play, 
The kyng ferth rydeth his journay. 
Now hereth gefls of grete noblay '. 

Our author thus defcribes a battle \ 



Alifaundre tofore is ryde. 

And many gentiil a knigth hym myde > 

As for to gader his meigne free, 

He abideth under a tree : 

Ffourty thoufand of chyvalerie 

He taketh in his compaignye. 

He dasfheth hym than fall forthward, 

And the other cometh afterward. 

He feeth his knigttes in mefchief, 

He taketh it gretlich a greef, 

' fol. 40. ' Iblb. * fol. /r.e num. * MS. ut fupr. f, 45. b. 



He takes Bultyphal " by thi fide, 

So as a fwalewe he gynneth forth glide, 

A duke of Perce fone he mett 

And with his launce he hym grett. 

He perceth his breny, cleveth his ihelde, 

The herte lokeneth the yrne ; 

The duke fel dowile to the grounde. 

And ftarf quickly in that ftounde : 

AHfaunder aloud than feide. 

Other tol never ich ne paiede, 

Zut zee fchullen of myne paie, 

Or ich gon mor afTaie. 

Another launce in honde he hent 

Again the prince of Tyre he went 

He .... hym thorow the breft and thare 

And out of fadel and crouthe hym bare, 

And I figge for foothe thyng 

He braak his neck in the fallyng. 

with mychell wonder, 

Antiochus hadde hym under. 
And with fwerd wolde his heved 
From his body habbe yreved : 
He feig Alifaundre the gode gome, 
Towardes hym fwithe come, 
He lete his pray, and flew on hors, 
Ffor to fave his owen cors : 
Antiochus on ftede lep, 
Of none woundes ne tok he kep. 
And eke he had foure forde 
All ymade with fperes ord ". 
Tholomeus and alle his felawen ^ 
Of this focour fo weren welfawen, 


" Bucephalus. 

* Sic. * Point. 

G g 2 

y Fellows. 



Alyfaunder made a cry hardy 

" Ore toft aby aby." 

Then the knigttes of Achaye 

Jufted with them of Arabye, 

Thoo '^ of Rome with hem of Mede 

Many londe ........ 

Egipte jufted with hem of Tyre, 
Simple knigtts v/ith riche fyre : 
Ther nas foregift ne forberyng 
Bitwene vavafoure * ne kyng ; 
To fore men migtten and by hynde 
Cuntecke feke and cuntecke " fynde. 
With Perciens fougtten the Gregeys " -, 
Ther wos cry and gret honteys ^ 
They hidden ^ that they weren mice 
They broken fperes alto flice. 
Ther migth knigth fynde his pere, 
Ther les ^ many his deftrere ^ : 
Ther was quyk in litell thrawe ^, 
Many gentill knigth yflawe : 
Many arme, many heved ' 
Some from the body reved : 
Many gentill lavedy " 
Ther les quyk her amy '. 
Ther was many maym yled '"j . 
Many fair penfel bibled " : 
Ther was fwerdes liklakyng % 
There was fperes bathing ^ 
Both kynges ther faunz doute 
Eeeth in dasflit with al her route. 

2 They. ♦ Loft. ■" " Led along, maimed, woundod." 

■ Servant. Subjeft. ? Horfe. Lat Dextrarius. " " Many a rich banner, or flag, fprink- 

" Strife. ^ Short time. " led with blood." " Clafliing. 

<^ Greeks. ' Head. p MS. baping. I do not underfland the 

•' Shame. ^ Lady. word. 

* Thought. ' Paramour. 




The other his harmes for to wreke. 
Many londes neir and ferre 
Lefen her lord in that werre. 

quaked of her rydyng, 

The wedar "^ thicked of her cryeyng : 
The blode of hem that weren yflawe 
Ran by floods to the lowe, &c. 

I have ah'eady mentioned Alexander's miraculous horn. 

He blewe in home quyk fans doute, 

His folk hym fwithe ' aboute : 

And hem he faid with voice clere 

Iche bidde frendes that ge ine here 

Alifaunder is comen in this londe 

With ftrong knittes with migty honde, &c. 

Alexander's adventures in the deferts among the Gymno- 
fophiiis, and in Inde, are not omitted. The authors vi^hom 
he quotes for his vouchers^ fliew the reading and ideas of 
the times '. 

Tho Alifaunder went thoroug defert. 
Many wonders he feig apert ', 
Whiche he dude wel defcryve, 
By gode clerkes in her lyve ; 
By Ariftotle his maiftr that was, 
Beeter clerk fithen non nas ; 
He was with him, and few and wroot. 
All thife wondre god it woot : 
Salomon that al the world thoroug yede 
In foothe witnefle held hym myde. 

q Weather. Sky. « MS. ut fupr. f. 50, 

' Came, followed. * Saw openly. 



Yfidre " alfo that was fo wys 

In his boke telleth this : 

Maifter Euftroge bereth hym witnefTe, 

Of the wondres more and lelle. 

Seynt Jerome gu fchullen ywyte 

Them hath alio in book ywryte : 

And Mageftene, the gode clerk, 

Hath made therof mychel werk, 

. . . that was of gode memorie 

It fheweth al in his boke of florie : 

And alfo Pompie ""j of Rome lorde, 

.... writcn everie worde. 

Bie heldeth me thareof no fynder " 

Her bokes ben my fhewer : 

And the Lyf of Alyfaunder 

Of whom fleig fo riche fklaunder. 

Gif gee willeth give liftnyng, 

Nowe gee Ihullen here gode thyng. 

In fomers tyde the daye is long, 

Foules fyngeth and maketh fong : 

Kyng Alyfaunder ywent is, 

With dukes, erles, and folk of pris, 

With many knigths, and douty men, 

Toward the city of Fa ... . aen ; 

After kyng Porus, that flowen ^ was 

Into the citee of Bandas, 

He woulde wende thorough defert 

This wonders to fene apert, 

Gromyes he nome ^ of the londe, 

Ffyve thoufand, I underftonde, 

" IJidore. He means, I fuppofe, Ifi- the hiftorian, whom he confounds with 

dorus Hifpalenfis, a Latin writer of the Pompey the Great, 
feventh century. " " Don't look on me as the inventor." 

^ He mean* Juftin's Trogus Pompeius y Fled. ^ Took. 



That hem fliulden lede ryth * 

Thoroug deferts, by day and nyth. 

The Sy . . res loveden the kyng nougth. 

And wolden have him bicaugth. 

Thii ledden hym therefore, als I fynde, 

In the ftraungeft peril of Ynde : 

As fo iche fynd in thi book 

Thii weren asflireynt in her crook. 

Now rideth Alyfaunder with his ooil. 

With mychel pryde and mychel booft j 

As ar hii comen to a caftel . . ton. 

I fchullen fpeken another leiTon. 

Lordynges, alfo I fynde 

At Mede fo bigynneth Ynde, 

Fforfothe ich woot it ilretcheth ferreft 

Of all the londes in the Eft 

And oth ^ the fouthhalf fikerlyk 

To the fee of Affryk, 

And the north half to a mountayne 

That is ycleped Caucafayne " : 

Fforfothe zee fhullen undirftonde, 

Twyes is fomer in that londe, 

And nevermore wynter, ne chele '', 

That lond is ful of all wele. 

Twyes hii gaderen fruyt there 

And wyne and corne in one yere. 

In the londe alfo I fynd of Ynde 

Bene cites fyve-thoufynd, 

Withouten ydles, and caftelis. 

And borugh tounnes fv/ithe feles ". 

In the londe of Ynde thou migth lere 

Vyve thoufand folk of felcouth ^ manere 

Strait. ^ MS. o))]3e. « Caucafus. ^ Chill. Cold. « Very many. ^ Uncommon. 



That ther non is other ylyche 
Bie holde thou it nougth ferlyche, 
And hi that thou underflande the gefles, 
Both of men and of beftes, &c. 

Edward the fecond is faid to have carried with him to the 
fiege of Stirling caftle, in Scotland, a poet named Robert 
Bafton. He was a Carmelite friar of Scarborough j and the 
king intended that Baflon, being an eye-witnefs of the ex- 
pedition, fliould celebrate his conquefl: of Scotland in verfe. 
HoUingfliead, an hiftorian not often remarkable for pene- 
tration, mentions this circumftance as a fmgular proof of 
Edward's prefumption and confidence in his undertaking 
againfl Scotland : but a poet feems to have been a flated 
officer in the royal retinue when the king went to war ^. 
Baflon, however, appears to have been chiefly a Latin poet, 
and therefore does not properly fall into our feries. At 
leafl his poem on the fiege of Striveling caflle is written in 
monkifli Latin hexameters ^ : and our royal bard being taken 
prifoner in the expeditiorv, was compelled by the Scotch to 
write a panegyric, for his ranfom, on Robert Brus, which 
is compofed in the fame flyle and language \ Bale men- 
tions his Poemata, et Rhythmiy T!ragcedice et Comoedic? vulgares ^. 
Some of thefe indeed appear to have been written in 
Englifli : but no Englifla pieces of this author now re- 
main. In the mean time, the bare exiflence of dramatic 
compofitions in England at this period, even if written in 

2 Leland. Script. Brit. p. 338. Hoi- A. D. 1200. Tan. Bibl. p. 591. See 

lingfli. Hilt. ii. p. 217. 2 20. Tanner men- VofT. Hift. Lat. p. 441. He is called 

tions, as a poet of England, one Guliel- " poeta per earn setatem excellens." See 

mus Peregrinus, who accompanied Richard Bal. iii. 45. FHtf. 266. 
the firft into the holy land, and fung his at- ^ It is extant in Fordun's Scoti-chron. 

chievements there in a Latin poem, entitled c. xxiii. 1. 12. 

Odoeporicon Ricardi Regis, lib. i. ' Leland. ut fupr. And MSS. Harl. 

It is dedicated to Herbert archbifhop of 18 19. Brit. Muf. See alfo Wood, Hift, 

Canterbury, and Stephen Turnham, a cap- Ant. Univ, Oxon. p. lOj. 
tain in the expedition. He ilourilhed about ^ Apud Tanner, p. 79. 




the Latin tongue, deferve notice in inveftigating the progrefs 
of our poetry. For the fame reafon I mufl not pafs over a 
Latin piece, called a comedy, written in this reign, perhaps 
by Peter Babyon ; who by Bale is ftyled an admirable rheto* 
rician and poet, and flouriflied about the year 13 17. This 
comedy is thus entitled in the Bodleian manufcript, De Ba~ 
bio?ie et Croceo domino Babionis et Viola Jiliajira Bahionis quam 
Croceiis duxit invito Babione^ et Pecula uxore Babionis et Fodio 
fuoy &c '. It is wiitten in long and fliort Latin verfes, 
without any appearance of dialogue. In what manner, if 
ever, this piece was reprefented theatrically, cannot eafily 
be difcovered or afcertained. Unlefs we fuppofe it to have 
been recited by one or more of the characters concerned, at 
fome public entertainment. The flory is in Gower's Con- 
FEssio Amantis. Whether Gower had it from this per- 
formance I will not enquire. It appears at leaft that he 
took it from fome previous book. 

I find writte of Babio, 

Which had a love at his menage, 

Ther was no fairer of hir age. 

And hight Viola by name, &c. 

And had affaited to his hande 

His fervant, the which Spodius 

Was bote, &c. 

A frefh a free and friendly man, &c. 

Which Croceus by name hight, &c ". 

In the mean time it feems moft probable, that this piece has 
been attributed to Peter Babyon, on account of the likenefs 
of the name Babio, efpecially as he is a ridiculous character, 
On the whole, there is nothing dramatic in the ftru(!n:ure of 
this nominal comedy ; and it has certainly no claim to that 
title, only as it contains a familiar and comic flory carried 

* Arch. B. 52. "' Lib. v. f. 109. b. Edit. Berth. 1554. 

Vol. I. H h on 



on with much fcurrilous fatire intended to raile mirth. But 
it was not uncommon to call any llioit poem, not ferious 
or tragic, a comedy. In the Bodleian manufcript, which 
comprehends Babyon's poem jufl mentioned, there follows 
CoMEDiA DE Geta *. tliis 1$ in Latin long and fhort verfes % 
and has no marks of dialogue ". In the library of Corpus 
Chrifti college at Cambridge, is a piece entitled, Comedia 
ad monafieriiim de Hulme ordinis S. Be?iediBi Diocef. Norwic. 
direBa ad Keformationem fequentem.^ ciijiis data eft primo die Sep- 
te?nbris fub anno Chrifti 1477, et a jnorte yoan?iis Fajiolfe militia 
eoriim benefaBoris ^ precipui 17, in cujiis moyiajierii ecclefm hiima- 
tiir'^. This is nothing more than a fatyrical ballad in Latin; 
yet fome allegorical perfonages are introduced, which how- 
ever are in no refpeft accommodated to fcenical reprefcnta- 
tion. About the reign of Edward the fourth, one Edward 
Watfon, a fcholar in grammar at Oxford, is permitted to 
proceed to a degree in that faculty, on condition that within 
two years he would write one hundred verfes in praife of the 
univcrfity, and alfo compofe a Comedy '. The nature and 
fubje6l of Dante's Comedies, as they are flyled, is well 
known. The comedies afcribed to Chaucer are probably 
his Canterbury tales. We learn from Chaucer's own words, 
that tragic tales were called Tragedies. In the Prologue 
to the MoNKEs Tale. 

Tragedy is to tell a certaine ftory. 
As old bokis makin ofte memory, 

*■• Carmina compofuit, voluitque placere 

" f. 121. 

^ In die epifcopal palace of Nonvich is 
a curious piece of old wainfcot brought 
from the monaftery of Hulme at the time 
of its difl'olution. Among other antique 
ornaments are the arms of Sir John FalftafF, 
their principal benefaftor. This magnifi- 
cent knight was alfo a benefador to Mag- 

dalene College in Oxford. He bequeathed 
eftates to that fociety, part of which were 
appropriated to buy liveries for fome of 
the fenior fcholars. But this bencfaftion, 
in time, yielding no more than a penny a 
week to the fcholars who received the 
liveries, they were called, by way of con- 
tempt, Faljlaff 's buckram-tnen, 

4 Mifcell. M. p. 274. 

^ Hift. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. ii. 4. col. 2. 



Of hem that ftode In grete profperite, 
And be fallen out of her high degree, &c '. 


Some of thefe, the Monke adds, were written in profe, others 
in metre. Afterwards follow many tragical narratives: of 
which he fays. 

Tragedies firft wol I tell 

Of which I have an hundred in my cell. 

Lidgate further confirms what is here faid with regard to 
comedy as well as tragedy : 

My maifter Chaucer with frefh comedies, 
Is dead, alas ! chief poet of Britaine : 
That whilom made ful piteous tragedies '. 

The flories in the Mirror of Magistrates are called 
TRAGEDIES, fo late as the fixteenth century ". Bale calls 
his play, or Mystery, of God's Promises, a tragedy, 
which appeared about the year 1538. 

I muft however obferve here, that dramatic entertain- 
ments, reprefenting the lives of faints and the mofl emi- 
nent fcriptural ftories, were known in England for more 
than two centuries before the reign of Edward the fecond. 
Thefe fpe6lacles they commonly flyled miracles. I have 

^ V. 85. See alfo, ibid. v. 103. 786. 

t Prol. F. Pr. V. i. See alfo Chaucer's 
Troil. and Cr. v. 1785. 1787. 

" The elegant Fontenelle mentions one 
Parafols a Limofin, who wrote Cinque 
belles Tragedies des gejies de Jeanne 
reine de Naples, about the year 1383. 
Here he thinks he has difcovered, fo early 
as the fourteenth century, " une Poete 
" tragique." I have never feen thefe five 
Tragedies, nor perhaps had Fontenelle. 
But I will venture to pronounce, that they 
are nothing more than five tragical narra- 


tives : Queen Jane murdered her four huf- 
bands, and was afterwards herfelf put to 
death. See Fontenelle's Hift. de Thcatr. 
Fr. Oevr. torn, troif. p. 20. edit. Paris, 
1742. i2mo.. Nor can I believe that the 
Tragedies and Comedies, as they are called, 
of Anfelm Fayditt, and other early trou- 
badours, had any thing dramatic. It is 
worthy of notice, that pope Clement the 
feventh rewarded Parafols for his five tra^ 
gedies with two canonries. Compare Re- 
cherches fur les Theatr. de France, par M. 
de Beauchamps, Pari^, 1735. 4to. p. 65. 

2 alreadv 



already mentioned the play of faint Catharine, afted at 
Dunftaple about the year 11 10". William Fitz-Stephen, a 
writer of the twelfth century, in his Description of Lon- 
don, relates that, " London, for its theatrical exhibitions, 
" has holy plays, or the reprefentation of miracles wrought 
" by confefibrs, and of the fufferings of martyrs ^" Thefe 
pieces muft have been in high vogue at our prefent period ; 
for Matthew Paris, who wrote about the year 1240, fays 
that they were fuch as " Miracula vulgariter appella- 
" Mus ^." And we learn from Chaucer, that in his time 
Plays of Miracles were the common refort of idle goflips. 
in Lent. 

Therefore made I my vifitations, 

To prechings eke and to pilgrimagis, 

To Plays of Miracles, and mariagis, &c *". 

This is the genial Wife of Bath,, who amufes herfelf 
with thefe fafhionable diverfions, wliile her hufband is ab- 
fent in London, during the holy feafon of Lent. And in 
Pierce Plowman's Crede, a piece perhaps prior to Chau- 
cer, a friar Minorite mentions thefe Miracles as not lefs 
frequented than markets or taverns. 

We haunten no tavernes, ne hobelen abouten, 
Att markets and Miracles we medeley us never \ 

Among the plays ufually reprefented by the guild of Cor- 
pus Chrifti at Cambridge, on that feflival, Ludus filiorum 

» D 


y ♦' Lundonia pro fpedaculis theatra- 
** libus, pro ludis fcenicis, ludos habet 
" fanftiores, rcprefentationes miraculorum 
** quae fanfti confefTores operati funt, feu 
** rcprefentationes paffionum quibus cla- 
** ruit conftanda maftj'rum." Ad calc. 
Stowe's Survey of London, p. 480. 
edit. 1599. The reader will obferve, that 
I have conftrued fanitiores in a pofitive 

ienfe. Fitz-Stephen mentions at the end 
of his traft,. ** Imperatricem Matildem,. 
" Henricum regem tertium, et beatum 
'* Thomam. &x." p. 483. Henry the third 
did not accede till the year 1 216. Perhaps 
he implied y«/z/r«»r regem tertium. 

2 Vit. Abbat. ad calc. Hill. p. 56. edit, 

" Prol. Wif. B. V. 555. p. 80. Urr. 

* Signat. A. iii. b, e<ut. 1561. 




Israelis was acled in the year 1355 ^ Our drama feems 
hitherto to have been almoft entirely confined to rehgious 
fubje<5ts, and thefe plays were nothing more than an ap- 
pendage to the fpecious and mechanical devotion of the 
times. I do not find exprefsly, that any play on a profane 
fubjedl, either tragic or comic, had as yet been exhibited in 
England. Our very early anceflors fcarce knew any other 
hiftory than that of their religion. Even on fuch an occa-^ 
(ion as the triumphant entry of a king or queen into the 
city of London, or other places, the pageants were almofl 
entirely fcriptural ^ Yet I muft obferve, that an article in 
one of the pipe-rolls, perhaps of the reign of king John, 
and confequently about the year 1200, feems to place the ru- 
diments of hiflrionic exhibition, I mean of general fubjefts, at 
a much higher period among us than is commonly imagined.. 
It is in thefe words. " Nicola uxor Gerardi de Canvill, red- 
** dit computum de centum marcis pro maritanda Matildi 
" filia fua cuicunque voluerit, exceptis Mimicis regis \" — 
" Nicola, wife of Gerard of Canville, accounts to the king 
" for one hundred marks for the privilege of marrying his 

« Mafters's Hift. C. C. C. C. p. 5. vol:. 
i; What was the antiquity of the Guary- 
Miracle, or Miracle-Fla\ in Cornwall, has 
not been determined. In the Bodleian li- 
brary are three Cornifti interludes, written 
on parchment. B. 40. Art. In the fame 
library there is alfo another, written on 
paper in the year 16.1 1. Arch. B. 31. Of 
this laft there is a tranflation in che Britifh 
Mufeum, MSS. Harl. 1867. 2. It is enti- 
tled, the Creation OF THE World. It 
is called a Cornifh play or opera, and faid 
to be written by Mr. William Jordan. The 
tranflation into Englilh was made by John 
Keigwin of Moufhole in Cornwall, at the 
lequelt of Trelawney, bifhop of Exr-ter, 
1691. Of this William Jordan I cr.n give 
lio account. In the Britilli Mufeum there 
T& an antient Cornifh poem on the death 
and refurredron of Chnft. It is on vellum, . 

and Has fome rude pictures. The beginning 
and end are loll. The writing is fuppofed 
to be of the fifteenth century. MSS. Harl. 
1782, 4to. See the learned Lwhyd's Ar- 
chsol. Brit. p. 265. And Borlafe's Corn- 
wall, Nat. Kill. p. 295. edit. 1758. 

•^ When our Henry the fixth entered 
Paris in 1 43 I, in the quality of king of 
France, he was met at the gate of Saint 
Denis by a Dumb Shew, r* preienting the 
birth of the Virgin Mary, and her mar- 
riage, the adoration of the three kings, 
and the parable of the fovver. This pageant 
indeed was given by the French : but the 
readers of Hollinglhead will reoolleft many 
inftances immediately to our purpofe. See 
Monftrelet. apud Fonten. Hift. Theatr. ut 
fupr. p. 37. 

'- Rot incert. ut videttir Reg. Johann. 
Apud. MSS. Jaines, Bibl. Bodl.vii. p. 104.. 

" daughter 



" daugiiter Maud to whatever perfon flie pleafes, the king's 
" MIMICS excepted." "Whether or no mimici regis are here 
a fort of players kept in the king's houfhold for diverting 
tlie court at dated feafons, at leaft with performances of 
mimicry and mafquerade, or whether they may not ftridlly 
imply MiNSTRELLS, I cannot indeed determine. Yet we may 
remark, that Mimicus is never ufed for Mimus, that cer- 
tain theatrical entertainments called mafcarades, as we fliall 
fee . below, were very antient among the French, and that 
thefe MiMici appear, by the context of this article, to have 
been perfons of no very refpeftable chara<5ler \ I likewife 
find in the wardrobe-rolls of Edward the third, in the year 
1348, an account of the drefTes, ad facie Jidu??t Ludos domini 
regis adffejlii?n Natalis Domini celebratos aptid Guldefordy for fur- 
nifhing the plays or fports of the king, held in the caftle of 
Guildford at the feaft of Chriftmas ^ In thefe Ludi, fays 
my record, were expended eighty tunics of buckram of 
various colours, forty-two vifours of various fimilitudes, that 
is, fourteen of the faces of women, fourteen of the faces of 
men with beards, fourteen of heads of angels, made with 
filver J twenty-eight crells \ fourteen mantles embroidered 
with heads of dragons : fourteen white tunics wrought with 
heads and wings of peacocks, fourteen heads of fwans with 
wings, fourteen tunics painted with eyes of peacocks, four- 
teen tunics of Englifh linen painted, and 'as many tunics 
embroidered with flars of gold and filver '. In the rolls of 

^ John of Salifbury, who wrote about 
1 160, lays, " Hiltriones et mimi non pof- 
" funt recipere facram communionem." 

POLICRAT. i. 8, 

5 Comp. J. Cooke, Proviforis Magnse 
Garderob. ab ann. 21. Edw. i. ad ann. 23. 
Membr. ix. 

" I do not perfeftlyunderftand the Latin 
original in the place, viz. " xiiij Crejfes 
" cum tibiis reverfatis et calceatis, xiiij 
*' Crejies cum montibus et cuniculis." 
Among the fluffs are " viii pelles de Roan." 

In the fame wardrobe rolls, a little above, 
I find this entry, which relates to the fame 
feftival. " Etad faciendum vi pennecello? 
'* pro tubis et clarionibus contra ffeftum 
" natalis domini, de fyndone, vapulatos de 
" armis regis quartellatis." Membr. ix. 

' . Some perhaps may think, that thefe 
were dreflcs for a Masqjje at court. If fo, 
Hollingfhead is miftaken in faying, that in 
the year 1512, " on the dale of Epiphanje 
" at night, the king with eleven others 
" were difguifed after the manner of Italie 




the wardi'obe of king Richard the fecond, in the year 1391, 
there is alfo an entry which feems to point out a iport of 
much the fame nature. " Pro xxi cuifs de tela linea pro 
*' hominibus de lege contrafa6lis pro ludo regis tempore na- 
" talis domini anno xii "." That is, " for twenty-one linen 
" coifs for counterfeiting men of the law in the king's play 
" at Chriftmas." It will be fufficient to add here on the lafl 
record, that the ferjeants at law at their creation, antiently 
wore a cap of linen, lawn, or filk, tied under the chin: this 
was to diftinguifli them from the clergy who had the tonfure. 
Whether in botli thefe indances we are to underftand a dumb 
jQiew, or a dramatic interlude with fpeeches, I leave to the 
examination of thofe who are profefiedly making enquiries 
into the hiftory of our flagc from its rudcfl origin. But 
that plays on general fubjecfs were no uncommon mode of 
entertainment in the royal palaces of England, at leall: at 
the commencement of the liftecnth century, may be colle6led 
from an old memoir of fliews and ceremonies exhibited at 
Chriftmas, in the reign of Henry the feventh, in the palace 
of Weftminfter. It is in the year 1489. " This criftmas I 
faw no difguyfings, and but right few Plays. But ther 
was an abbot of Mifrule, that made much fport, and did 
right well his office." And again, '' At nyght the kynge 
the qweene, and my ladye the kynges moder, cam into- 
" the Whitehall, and ther hard a Play 





i .'J 

" called a mafke, a thing notfeen before in 
" England. They were apparelled in gar- 
" ments long and broad, wrought all with 
•' gold, with vifors-and caps of gold, &;c." 
Hift. vol. iii. p. 812. a. 40. Befides, thefe 
malkings moft probably came to the Eng- 
li(h, if from Italy, through the medium cf 
France. Hollingfhead alfo contradids him- 
fclf : for in another place he feems to allow 
their exiftence under our Henry the fourth, 
A. D. 1.40.0. '♦ The confpirators meant 
" upon the fudden to have fet upon the 
*^ king in the callell of Windfor, under 

" colour of a majkc or- tftu^nnerie. Sec." 
ibid. p. 515. b. 50. Strype fays there 
were Page aunts exhibited in London, 
when queen Eleanor rode through the city 
to her coronation in 1236. And for the 
viftor}' over the Scots by Edward the firil, 
in J 298, Anecdot. Brit. Topograph, p. 725. 
Lond. edit. 1768. 

^ Comp. Magn. Garderob. an. 14 Ric. 
ii. f. 193. b. 

' Leland. Coll. ili. Append, p, 256. 
edit. !770. 




As to the religious dramas, it was cuftomary to perform 
this fpecies of play on holy feflivals in or about the churches. 
In the regiller of William of Wykeham, bifliop of Win- 
chefter, under the year 1384, an epifcopal injun6lion is re- 
cited, againft the exhibition of Spectacula in the ce- 
metery of his cathedral "". Whether or no thefe were dra- 
matic Spectacles, I do not pretend to decide. In feveral 
of our old fcriptural plays, we fee fome of the fcenes di- 
re6led to be reprefented cum cantu et organise a common rubric 
in the mifTal. That is, becaufe they were performed in a 
church where the choir aflifted. There is a curious pafTage 
in Lambarde's Topographical Di^ionary written about the 
year 1570, much to our purpofe, which I am therefore 
tempted to tranfcribe ". "In the dayes of ceremonial reli- 
gion, they ufed at Wytney (in Oxfordfhire) to fet fourthe 
yearly in maner of a fhew, or interlude, the refurre6lion 
of our Lord, &c. For the which purpofes, and the more 
lyvely heareby to exhibite to the eye the hole a6lion of the 
refurre^lion, the prieftes garnifhed out certain fmalle 
puppettes, reprefenting the perfons of Chrifte, the watch- 
men, Marie, and others j amongeft the which, one bare 
the parte of a wakinge watchman, who efpiinge Chrifle to 
arife, made a continual noyce, like to the found that is 
caufed by the metynge of two llyckes, and was thereof 
commonly called Jack Snacker of Wytney. The like toye I 
myfelf, beinge then a childe, once fawe in Poule's churche 













■" Regiftr. lib. ili.f. 88, *' Canere Can- 
" tilenas, ludibriorum fpzEiacula facere, 
** faltationes et alios ludos inhoneftos fre- 
" quentare, choreas, &c." So in Statut. 
Ecclef. Nannett. A. D. 1405. No " mimi 
*• vel joculatores, ad monjlra lawarum in 
*' ecclefia et cemeterio," are permitted. 
Marten. Thefaur. Anecd iv. p. 993. And 
again, " Joculatores, hiftriones, faltatrices, 
" in ecclefia, cemeterio, vel porticu. — nee 
** aliquse chorea;." Statut. Synod. Ecclef. 
Leod. A. D. 1287. apud Marten, ut fupr. 

p. 846. Fontenelle fays, that antlently 
among the French, comedies were afted 
after divine fervice, in the church-yard. 
** Au fortir du fermon ces bonnes gens al- 
" loient a la Comedie, c'eft a dire, qu'ils 
" changeoint de Sermon." Hif^, Theatr. 
ut fupr. p. 24. But thefe were fcriptural 
comedies, and they were conftantly preceded 
by a Benedicite, by way of prologue. 
The French ftage will occur again below. 
" Pag. 459. edit. 1730. 4to. 





" at London at a feafl of Whitfuntyde j wheare the 
" comynge downe of the Holy Goi\ was fet forthc by a 
** white pigion, that was let to fly out of a hole that yet ij 
" to be fene in the mydfl of the roofe of the greate iie, 
** and by a longe cenfer which defcendinge out of the fame 
*' place aimofl to the verie grounde, was fwinged up and 
" downe at fuche a lengthe, that it reached with thone 
*' fwepe almoil to the weft-gate of the churche, and with 
*' the other to the quyre ftaires of the fame ; breathinge out 
*' over the whole churche and companie a moft pleafant per- 
fume of fuch fwete thinges as burned therein. With the 
like doome fhewes alfo, they ufed everie where to furnifli 
fondrye parts of their church fervice, as by their fpedlacles 
of the nativitie, pallion, and afcenfion, &c," 
This practice of afting plays in churches, was at laft 
grown to fuch an enormity, and attended with fuch inconv^e- 
nient confequences, that in the reign of Henry the eighth, 
Bonner, biiliop of London, ifTued a proclamation to the 
clergy of his diocefe, dated 1542, prohibiting '' all maner of 
common plays, games, or interludes to be played, fet 
forth, or declared, within their churches, chapels, &c ° " 
This fafhion feems to have remained even after the Re- 
formation, and when perhaps profane ftories had taken place 
of religious ^ Archbiihop Grindal, in the year 1563, re- 
moftrated againft the danger of interludes ; complaining 
that players ** did efpecially on holy days, fet up bills in- 
*' viting to their play \ From this ecclefiaftical fource of 
the modern drama, plays continued to be a6ted on fundays 
fo late as the reign of EUfabeth, and even till that of Charles 

^ Burnet. Hift Ref. i. Coll. Rec. pag. «• temple of God, and th*t, throughout 

225. ^ ^ « England, &c." This abafe of ading 

P From a puntanical pamphlet entitled plays in churches is mention^ in the canon 

The third blast of Retrait from of James the firil, which forbids alfo the 

Plaies, &c. 1580. I2"\ p. 77. Where profanation of churches by court-leets, &c, 

the author fays, the players are " permit- The canons were given in the yean 603, 
•♦ ted to publilh their m^mettrie in everie 1 Strype's Grindall, p. 8a, 

Vol L I i the 


the firft, by the chorifters or linging-boys of faint Paul's 
cathedral in London, and of the royal chapel. 

It is certain, that thefe Miracle-plays were the firft of 
our dramatic exhibitions. But as thefe pieces frequently re- 
quired the introdu6lion of allegorical chara6lers, fuch as 
Charity, Sin, Death, Hope, Faith, or the like, and as the 
common poetiy of the times, efpecially among the French, 
began to deal much in allegory, at length plays were formed 
entirely confifting of fuch perfonifications. Thefe were called 
Moralities. The miracle-plays, or Mysteries, were to- 
tally deftitute of invention or plan : they tamely reprefented 
ftories according to the letter of fcripture, or the refpecfivc 
legend. But the Moralities indicate dawnings of the dra- 
matic art : they contain fome rudiments of a plot, and even 
attempt to delineate charafters, and to paint manners. 
From hence the gradual tranfition to real hiftorical perfon- 
ages was natural and obvious. It may be alfo obferved, that 
many licentious pleafantries were fometimes introduced in 
thefe religious reprefentations. This might imperceptibly 
lead the way to fubje(5ts entirely profane, and to comedy, 
and perhaps earlier than is imagined. In a ' Myftery of the 
Massacre of the Holy Innocents, part of the fubje6l of 
a facred drama given by the Englifli fathers at the famous 
council of Conftance, in the year 1417 ', a low buffoon of 
Herod's court is introduced, defiring of his lord to be dubbed 
a knight, that he might be properly qualified to go o?i the 
adventure of killing the mothers of the children of Bethle- 
hem. This tragical bufinefs is treated with the moft ridi- 
culous levity. The good women of Bethlehem attack our 
knight-errant with their fpinning-wheels, break his head 
with their diftaffs, abufe him as a coward and a difgrace to 
chivalry, and fend him home to Herod as a recreant cham- 
pion with much ignominy. It is in an enlightened age only 

' MSS. Digb. 134. Bibl. Bodl. ' L'Enfant. il. 440. 



that fubjeds of fcripture hiftory would be fupported with 
proper dignity. But then an enlightened age would not 
have cholen fuch fubje6ls for theatrical exhibition. It is 
certain that our anceftors intended no fort of impiety by 
thefe monflrous and unnatural mixtures. Neither the writers 
nor the fpe6lators faw the impropriety, nor paid a feparate 
attention to the comic and the ferious part of thefe motley 
fcenes j at leaft they were perfuaded, that the folemnity of 
the fubje6l covered or excufed all incongruities. They had no 
juft idea of decorum, confequently but little (cnk of the ri- 
diculous : what appears to us to be the higheft burlefque, on 
them would have made no fort of imprefTion. We muft 
not wonder at this, in an age when courage, devotion, and 
ignorance, compofed the character of European manners ; 
when the knight going to a tournament, firft invoked his 
God, then his miflrefs, and afterwards proceeded with a 
fafe confcience and great refolution to engage his antagonift. 
In thefe Myfleries I have fometimes feen grofs and open ob- 
fcenities. In a play of the Old and New T^efiament \ Adam and 
Eve are both exhibited on the ftage naked, and converfing about 

' MSS. Harl. 2013, &c. Exhibited at HelU by the Cooks and Innkeepers. I'be 
Chefter in the year 1327, at the expence of Refurredion, by the Skinners. The Afcen- 
the different trading companies of that city. Jlon^ by the Taylors. The ele£iio7iof S. Mat- 
The Fall of Lucifer y by the Tanners. The thias, Sending of the koly gholi, &c. by the 
Creation, by the Drapers. The Deluge, by Fifhmongers. Jntechriji, by the Clothiers. 
the Dyers. Abraham^ Melchifedech, and Day of Judgment, by the Webfters. The 
Lot, by the Barbers. Mofes, Balak, and reader will perhaps fmile at fome of thefe 
5fl/fl«w, by the Cappers. T'/-'^ 5rt/«/«//o'; and Combinations. This is the fub fiance 
Nati'vity, by the Wrightes. The Shepherds and order of the former part of the play. 
feeding their flocks by night, by the Painters God enters creating the world: he breathes 
nd Glaziers. The three Kings, by the life into Adam, leads him into Paradife, 
Vintners. The Oblation of the three Kings, and opens his fide while fleeping. Adam 
by the Mercers. The killing of the Innocents, and Eve appear naked, and w^t, and 
by the Goldfmiths. The Purif cation, by the old ferpent enters lamenting his fall, 
the Blackfmiths. The Temptation, by the He converfes with Eve. She eats of the for- 
Butchers. The laft Supper, by the Bakers. bidden fruit, and gives part to Adam. They 
The blind Men and Lazarus, by the Glo- propofe, according to the ftage-direftion, 
vers. Jefus and the Lepers, by the Cor- to make themfelves fubligacula a foliis qui- 
vefarys. Chrifih Pajfion, by the Bowyers, bus tegamus Pudenda. Cover their naked- 
Fletchers, and Ironmongers. Defcent into nefs with leaves, and converfe with God. 

I i 2 God's 



their nakednefs ; this very pertinently introduces the next 
icene, in which they have coverings of fig-leaves. This ex- 
traordinary lpe6tacle was beheld by a numerous afrembly of 
both lexes with great compofure : they had the authority of 
fcripture for fuch a reprefentation, and they gave matters juffc 
as they found them in the third chapter of Genefis. It would 
have been abfolute herefy to have departed from the facred 
text in perfonating the primitive appearanre of our firft pa- 
rents, whom the fpeftators fo nearly refembled in fimplicity : 
and if this had not been the cafe, the dramatifts were igno- 
rant what to rejeft and what to retain. 

In the mean time, profane dramas feem to have been 
known in France at a much earlier period ". Du Cange gives 
the following pi6lure of the king of France dining in pub- 
lic, before the year 1300. During this ceremony, a fort of 
farces or drolls feems to have been exhibited. All the great 
officers of the crown and the houfliold, fays he, were prefent. 
The company was entertained with the inflrumental mufic 
of the minflirels, who played on the kettle-drum, the flagel- 
let ", the cornet, the Latin cittern, the Bohemian flute, 

God's curfe. The ferpent exit hlfling. 
They are driven from Paradife by four an- 
gels and the cherubim with a flaming fword. 
Adam appears digging the ground, and 
Eve fpinning. Their children Gain and 
Abel enter : The former kills his brother. 
Adam's lamentation. Cain is banifhed, &c. 
'J John of Salifbury, a writer of the ele- 
venth century, fpeaking of the common di- 
verfions of his time, fays, ** Noftra aetas 
" prolapfa ad fabulas et qusevis inania, 
*' non modo aures et cor proftituit vanitati, 
** &c." PoLiCR AT. i. 8. An ingenious 
French writer, Monf. Duclos, thinks that 
Plays are here implied. By the word 
Fabula, fays he, fomething more is figni- 
fied than dances, gefticulation, and fimple 
dialogue. Fable properly means compoli- 
tion, and an arrangement of things which 
conftitute an aftion. Mem. Acad. Infer, 
xvii. p. 224. 4to. But perhaps yi?^«/.; has 

too vague and general a fenfe, efpecially in 
its prefent combination with yz^^r-wj inania ^ 
to bear fo precife and critical an interpreta- 
tion. I will add, that if this reafoning be 
true, the words will be equally applicable 
to the Englifh ftage. — At Conftantinople it 
feems that the ftao;e flouriflied much under 
Juftinian and Theodora, about the year 
540. For in the Bafilical codes we have 
the oath of an aflrefs, ^/-■t\ ocuu^upeiv T15? ttop- 
nHcci;. Tom. vii. p. 682. edit. Fabrot. 
Graeco-Lat. The antient Greek fathers, 
particularly faint Chryfoitom, are full of 
declamation againft the drama : and com- 
plain, that the people heard a comedian 
with much more pleafure than a preacher 
of the gofpeJ. 

"' J believe, a fort of pipe. This is the 
French word, viz. Demy-canon. See Car- 
pent. Du Cange, GI. Lat. i. p. 760^ 




the trumpet, the Moorifh cittern, and the fiddle. Befidcs 
there were " des Farceurs, des jongleurs, et des plaiiantins, 
*' qui divertifTeoient les compagnies par Icur faceties et par 
" leur Comedies, pour i'entretien." He adds, that many 
noble families in France were entirely ruined by the prodi- 
gious expences lavilhed on thofe performers ''. The annals 
of France very early mention buffoons among the minflrells 
at thefe feiemnities ; and more particularly that Louis le 
Debonnaire, who reigned about the year 830, never laughed 
aloud, not even when at the moil magnificent feftivals, 
players, buffoons, minilrels, fingers, and harpers, attended 
his table ^ . In fome conftitutions given to a cathedral 
church in France, in the year 1280, the following claufe 
occurs, " Nullus spectaculis aliquibus quse aut in Niip- 
" tiis aut in Scenis exhibcntur, interfit ^" Where, by the 
way, the word Sce?iis feems to imply fomewhat of a pro- 
feifed flage, although the eftablifiiment of the firfl French 
theatre is dated not before the year 1398. The play of 
Robin and Marian is faid to have been performed by the 
fchool-boys of Anglers according to annual cuftom, in 
the year 1392 *. A royal caroufal given by Charles the 
fifth of France to the emperor Charles the fourth, in the 
year 1378, was clofed with the theatrical reprefentatlon of 
tlie Conquejl of Jerufalem by Godfrey of Bulloign, which was. 

'^ Differtat. Joinv. p. i6i.- 

y Ibid. 

^ Montfauc. Catal. Manufcript. p. 1 158. 
See alfo Marten. Thefaur. Anecd. torn. iv. 
p. 506. Statut. Synod. A. D. 1468. " Lar- 
** varia ad Nuptias, &c." Stowe, in his 
Survey of London, mentions the prac- 
tice of afting plays at weddings. 

2 The boys were deguifiez, fays the old 
French record : and they had among them 
un Fillette defguifse. Carpent. ubi fupr. V. 
RoBiNET. Pentecoste. Our old cha- 
rafter of Mavd Marian may be hence 
illulbated. It feems to have been an early 

fafhion in France for fchool-boys to prefcnt 
thefe fhews or plays. In an antient manu- 
fcript, under the year 1477, there is men- 
tioned " Certaine Moralite,ou Farce, 
" que les efcolliers de Pontoife avoit fait, 
** ainfi qiiil ej} de coujlutne." Carpent. 
ubi fupr. V. MoRALiTAS. The Mystery 


faid to have been reprefented in 1424, by 
the boys of Paris placed like flatues againft 
a wall, without fpeech or motion, at the 
entry of the duke of Bedford, regent of 
France. See J. de Parir, p. loi. And 
Sauval, Ant. de Paris, ii. loi. 




exhibited in the hall of the royal palace ''. This indeed was 
a fubjeft of a religious tendency ; but not long afterwards, 
in the year 1395, perhaps before, the interefting ftory of 
Patient Grisilde appears to have been afted at Paris. 
This piece flill remains, and is entitled, Le Mystere de Gri- 
Jildis marquije de Saliice '. For all dramatic pieces were indifcri- 
minatcly called Mysteries, whether a martyr or a heathen 
god, whether faint Catharine or Hercules was the fubje6l. 

In France the religious Mysteries, often called Piteaux, 
or PiToux, were certainly very fafliionable, and of high 
antiquity : yet from any written evidence, I do not find 
them more antient than thofe of the Englifla. In the year 
1384, the inhabitants of the village of Aunay, on the fun- 
day after the feaft of faint John, played the Miracle of 
Theophilus, " ou quel Jeu avoit un perfonnage de un qui 
" devoit getter d'un canon''." In the year 1398, fome citi- 
zens of Paris met at faint Maur to play the Passion of 
Christ. The magiftrates of Paris, alarmed at this novelty, 
publifhed an ordonnance, prohibiting them to reprefent, 
*' aucuns jeux de perfonnages foit de vie de faints ou autre- 
" ment," without the royal licence, which was foon after- 
wards obtained'. In the year 1386, at Anjou, ten pounds 
were paid towards fupporting the charges of a6ling the 
Passion of Christ, which was reprefented by mafks, and, 
as I fuppofe, by perfons hired for the purpofe \ The chap- 
lains of Abbeville, in the year 1455, gave four pounds and 

^ Felib. torn. ii. p. 68 1. 

•= It has been printed, more than once, 
in the black letter. Beauchamps, p. no. 

•■ Carpentier, Suppl. Du Cange Lat. 
Gl. V. LuDus. 

'^ Beauchamps, ut fupr. p. 90. This was 
the iirll theatre of the French : the aftors 
were incorporated by the king, under the 
title of the Fraternity of the pal/ion of our 
Saviour. Beauch. ibid. See above, Se£l. ii. 
p. 9 1 . n. The Jeu de perjonnages was a very 

common play of the young boys in the 
larger towns, &c. Carpentier, ut fupr. V. 
Personagium. AndLuDus Personag. 
At Cambray mention is made of the Ihew 
of a boy larvatus cum maza in coUo with 
drums, &c. Carpent. ib. V. Kalends 

♦ ** Decern libr. ex parte nationis, ad 
" onera fupportanda hujus Miflerii." Car- 
pent, ut fupr. V. Personagium. 




ten fiiillings to the Players of the Passion ^ But the 
French Mysteries were chiefly performed by the reHgious 
communities, and fome of their Fetes almoft entirely con- 
fifted of a dramatic or perfonated fhew. At the Feast of 
Asses, inftituted in honour of Baalam's Afs, the clergy 
walked on Chriftmas day in proceflion, habited to reprefent 
the prophets and others. Mofes appeared in an alb and cope, 
with a long beard and rod. David had a green veftment. 
Baalam with an immenfe pair of fpurs, rode on a wooden 
afs, which inclofed a fpeaker. There were alfo fix Jews and 
fix Gentiles. Among other characters the poet Virgil was 
introduced as a gentile prophet and a tranflator of the Sibyl- 
line oracles. They thus moved in proceffion, chanting ver- 
ficles, and converfmg in chara6ler on the nativity and king- 
dom of Chrift, through the body of the church, till they 
came into the choir. Virgil fpeaks fome Latin hexameters,, 
during the ceremony, not out of his fourth eclogue, but 
wretched monkifli lines in rhyme. This feaft was, I believe, 
early fupprelTed ^. In the year 1445, Charles the feventh of 
France ordered the mafters in Theology at Paris to forbid 
the minillers of the collegiate' churches to celebrate atChrift- 
mas the Feast of Fools in their churches, where the clergy 
danced in mafques and antic drefTes, and exhibited //?^^/^rj 

s Carpent. ut fupr. V. Ludus. Who 
adds, from an antient Computus, that three 
fhillings were paid by the minifters of a 
church in the year 1537, for parchment, 
for writing Ludus Resurrectionis 

^ See p. 210. 

* Marten. Anecd. tom. i. col. 1804. See 
alfo Belet. de Divin. offic. cgp. 72. And 
Guflanvill. port. Not. ad Petr. Blefenf. 
Feilbien confounds La Fete de Feus et la 
Fete de Solife. The latter was an enter- 
tainment of dancing called Les Saultes, and 
thence corrupted into Soties or Sotife. See 
Mem. Acad. Infcript. xvii. 225. 226. See 
alfo Probat. Hift. Antifliodor. p. 310. 

Again, the Feaji of Fools feems to be 
pointed at in Statut. Senonenf A. D. 1445. 
Inftr. tom. xii. Gall. Chriftian. Coll. 96. 
*' Tempore divini fervitii larvatos et mon- 
•• ftruofos vultas deferendo, cum veftibus 
" mulierum, aut lenonum, aut hiftrionum, 
" choreas in ecclefia et choro ejus du- 
" cendo, &c." With the moft immodeft 
fpeftacles. The nuns of fome French con- 
vents are faid to have had Ludibria on faint 
Mary Magdalene's and other feftivals, when 
they wore the habits of feculars, and danced 
with them. Carpent. ubi fupr. V. Ka- 
lends. There was the office of Rex Stul- 
forum in Beverley church, prohibited 1391. 
Dugd. Mond. iii. Append. 7. 




mocqueries fpeBacles picblics, de leur corps deguife merits^ farces^ 
rigmeries^ With, various enormities {hocking to decency. In 
France as well as England it was cuftomary to celebrate the 
feaft of the boy-bifhop. In all the collegiate churches of 
both nations, about the feafl of Saint Nicholas, or the Holy 
Innocents, one of the children of the choir completely ap- 
parelled in the epifcopal veftments, with a mitre and croHer, 
bore the title and fbateof a bifliop, and exa6led ceremonial 
obedience from his fellows, who were drelTed like priefts. 
They took pofTeflion of the church, and performed all the 
ceremonies and ofHces \ the mafs excepted, which might 
have been celebrated by the bifliop and his prebendaries ". 
In the flatutes of the archiepifcopal cathedral of Tulles, 
given in the year 1497, it is faid, that during the celebra- 
tion of the feftival of the boy-bifhop, " Moralities were 
prefented, and fliews of Miracles, with farces and other 
fports, but compatible with decorum.— Af^r dinner they 
exhibited, without their mafks, but in proper drefles, fuch 
farces as they were rnafters of, in different parts of the 
city'." It is probable that the fame entertainments at- 
tended the folemnifation of this ridiculous feftival in Eng- 
land "" : and from this fuppoiition fome critics may be in- 






^ In the flatutes of Eton-college, given 
144.1, the Episcopus Puerorum is or- 
dered to perform divine fervice on faint Ni- 
cholas's day. Ruhr. xxxi. In the ftatutes 
of Winchefter-college, given i 380, PuERr, 
that is, the boy-bilhop and his fellows, 
are permitted on Innocent's day to execute 
all the facred offices in the chapel, accord- 
ing to the ufe of the church of Sarum. 
Ruhr. xxix. This ftrange piece of reli- 
gious mockery flourifhed greatly in Salif- 
bury cathedral. In the old Statutes of that 
church there is a chapter De Episcopo 
CHORisTARUM : and their Procejfionale 
gives a long and minute account of the 
whole ceremony, edit. Rothom. 1555. 

'' This ceremony was abolilhed by a 
proclamation, no later than 33Hen. viii. 

Brit Muf. MSS. Cott. Tit. B. i. f. 20S. 
In the inventory of the treafury of York 
cathedral, taken in 1530, we have " Item 
*' una mitra parva cum petris pro epifcopo 
" puerorum, &c." Dudgd. Monaft. iii. 
169. 170. See alfo 313. 314. 177. 279. 
See alfo Dugd. Hift. S. Paul's, p. 205. 206. 
Where he is called Episcopus Parvu- 
LORUM. See alfo Anftis Ord. Gart. ii, 
309. Where, inftead of Nihiknjis, read 
Nicolenfis, or Nicolatensis. 

' Statut. Ecclef. TuUenf. apud Carpent. 
Suppl. Lat. Gl. Du Gang. V. KalendjE. 

"' It appears that in England, the boy- 
biihop with his companions went about to 
different parts of the town ; at leaft vifited 
the other religious houfcs. As in Rot. 
Comp. Coll. Winton. A. D. 1461. 

«« In 



cllned to deduce the pradicc of our plays being acbed by 
the choir-boys of St. Paul's church, and the chapel royal, 
which continued, as I before obfervcd, till Cromwell's ufurpa- 
tion. The Englifli and French flages mutually throw light 
on each other's hiftory. But perhaps it will be thought, 
that in fome of thefe inftances I have exemplified in nothing 
more than farcical and gefticulatory reprefentations. Yet 
even thefe traces fhould be attended to. In the mean time 
we may obferve upon the whole, that the modern drama 
had its foundation in our religion, and that it was raifed 
and fupported by the clergy. The truth is, the members 
of the ecclefiaftical focieties were almoft the only perfons 
who could read, and their numbers eafily furniihed per- 
formers : they abounded in leifure, and their very relaxa- 
tions were religious. 

I did not mean to touch upon the Italian flage. But as 
fo able a judge as Riccoboni feems to allow, that Italy 
derived her theatre from thofe of France and England, by 
way of an additional illuftration of the antiquity of the two 
laft, I will here produce one or two Miracle-Plays, a6led 
much earlier in Italy than any piece mentioned by that in- 
genious writer, or by Crefcimbeni. In the year 1298, on 
" the feafl of Pentecoft, and the two following holidays, 
" the reprefentation of the Play of Christ, that is of his 
'* pafTion, refurreclion, afcenfion, judgment, and the mif- 
" fion of the holy ghoft, was performed by the clergy of 

" In Dat. epifco^o Nicolatenfi." This I 
fuppofe, was one of the children of the 
choir of the neighbouring cathedral. In 
the ftatutes of the collegiate chuixh of 
S. Mary Ottery, founded by birtiop Gran- 
difon in 1 337, there is this paflage. *' Item 
" ftatuimus, quod nuUus canonicus, vica- 
** rius, vel fecundarius, pueros choriftas 
** in fefto fandtorum Innocentium extra Pa- 
** rochiam de Otery trahant, aut eis licen- 
'* tiam vagandi concedant." cap» 50. MS. 

Regiftr. Priorat. S. Swithin. Win ton. quat, 
9. In the wardrobe-rolls of Edward iii. 
an. 12. we have this entry, which fhcws 
that our mock-bi(hop and his chapter fome- 
times exceeded their adopted clerical com- 
miffion, and exercifed the arts of fecular 
entertainment. " Episcopo puerorum 
" ecclefiae de Andeworp cantanti coram 
•* domino rege in camera fua in felio fanc- 
*' torum Innocentium, de done ipfius dom. 
'* regis, xms. vi</."* 

Vol. 1. 

K k 

« Civita 


** Civita Vecchla in curia domini patriarchce Aufiria civitatis 
" honorijice et laudabiliter'^y And again, " In 1304, the 
" chapter of Civita Vecchia exhibited a Play of the creation 
** of our firft parents, the annunciation of the Virgin Mary, 
" the birth of Chrift, and other pafTages of facred fcripture °.'* 
In the mean time, thofe critics who contend for the high 
antiquity of the Italian ftage, may adopt thefe inftances as 
new proofs in defence of that hypothefis. 

In this tranfient view of the origin and progrefs of our 
drama, which was incidentally fuggelled by the mention of 
Baflon's fuppofed Comedies, I have trefpafled upon future 
periods. But I have chiefly done this for the fake of con- 
nection, and to prepare the mind of the reader for other 
anecdotes of the hiftory of our ftage, which will occur in 
the courfe of our refearches, and are referved for their re- 
fpe6live places. I could have enlarged what is here loofely 
thrown together, with many other remarks and illuftrations 1 
but I was unwilling to tranfcribe from the colleftions of 
thofe who have already treated this fubjeft with great com- 
prehenfion and penetration, efpecially from the author of 
the Supplement to the Tranflator's Preface of Jarvis's Don 
Quixote ^, I claim no other merit from this digreffion, than 
that of having collected fome new anecdotes relating to the 
early ftate of the Englifh and French ftages, the original of 
both which is intimately connected, from books and manu- 
fcripts not eafily found, nor often examined. Thefe hints 
may perhaps prove of fome fervice to thofe who have leifure 
and inclination to examine the fubjeft with more precifion. 

" Chron. Forojul. in Append, ad Mo- the churches, fliould not ceafe in Italy till 
num. Eccl. Aquilej. pag. 30. col. 1. the year i66o. 

'' Ibid. pag. 30. col. 1. It is extraor- p See alfo Doftor Percy's very ingenious 

dinary, that the Miracle-plays, even in Essay on the origin of the Eng- 

liSH Stage, &:c. 




EDWARD the third was an illuftrious example and 
patron of chivahy. His court was the theatre of ro- 
mantic elegance. I have examined the annual rolls of his 
wardrobe, which record various articles of coflly ftufFs deli- 
vered occafionally for the celebration of his tournaments j 
fuch as ftandards, pennons, tunics, caparifons, with other 
fplendid furniture of the fame fort : and it appears that he 
commanded thefe folemnities to be kept, with a magnificence 
fuperior to that of former ages, at Litchfield, Bury, Guild- 
ford, Eltham, Canterbury, and twice at Windfor, in little 
more than the fpace of one year ^ At his triumphant re- 
turn from Scotland, he was met by two hundred and thirty- 
knights at Dunftable, who received their vi(5lorious monarch 
with a grand exhibition of thefe martial exercifes. He 
eftablifiied in the caftle of Windfor a fraternity of twenty- 
four knights, for whom he erefted a round table, with a 
round chamber ftill remaining, according to a fimilar infli- 

* Comp. J. Cooke, Proviforis Magn. *' argento, viz. tunlcam et fcutum operata 

Garderob. ab ann. 21 Edw. iii. ad ann. " cum diftamine Regis, 
23. fupr. citat. I will give, as a fpedmen, <i Hay Hay the -uoythe fnvan 

this officer's accompt for the tournament at .< ^^ Godcs Joule. I an thy man." 

Canterbury. «' Et ad faciendum diverfos .. j.^ cfoparium, pcftorale, teftarium, et 

apparatus pro corpora regis et fuorum » arcenarium extencellata cum argento. 

" pro haftiludioCantuarienfi, an. rcg. XXII. ., -n. „j „„..„„ j.,_, ; ^, • d • .• 

., V- r. J 1- n 1 r J / J " Et ad parandum 1. tunicam Reeis, et 1. 

" ubi Rex dedit octo hernefia de lyndone ,< ^i„^o„ „^ ^.,^„^:,^, ^„^ ^ \ •• 
., , c CL 1 J -J clocam et capuc^am cum c. eartenis 

*' ynde facia, et vapulata de armis dom. <, _ »• ^ .^ u^, 1 u • ^ j 
^t c- ■> ■ 1 r^ r ^ -I- • J • • paratis cum boucJes, barns, et penden- 

*' otepnani de Cofyneton mi itis, dommis ,, ;•. > „. „„,„ rr, „4 r • j 
., .'^ . ., . -^ T n • • ■ tibus de aro:ento. Et ad taciendum unum 

" pnncipibus comiti Eancaitnas, comiti ,, j 1, ., ' ,^ n„^^ j * i r 1. 

it C or A • Tu ' J r^ Tuj dublcttum pro Rege de tela hnea ha- 

** buftolciae, Tohanni de Gray, loh. de «« 1 . • • . r 1 • 

., r> L •* n u Tv^ 1 r u r^u bente, circa manicas et fimbnam, unam 

*' heauchamp, Roberto Maule, joh. Chan- .« u j ._ j 1 • -j- 

«t J » J T) J n u IT. borduram de panno longo vindi opera- 

** dos, et dom. Rogero de Beauchamp. Et .« » _ , 1 r .. • • j . 

.. J V . 1 ^ , r J u I t^"^ cuni nebuhs et vineis de auro, et 

ad faciendum unum harnefium de boke- „ ^^^ diQamine Regis. // /, as it h.- 

ram albo pro rege, extencellato cum y^^^^^^ ^.^ ^^^ p^ ^^^^^ 

K k 2 tution 



tution of king Arthur \ Anflis treats the notion, that 
Edward hi this eftahhihment had any retrofpe6l to king 
Arthur, as an idle and legendary tradition \ But the fame 
of Arthur was ftill kept alive, and continued to be an obje6l 
of veneration long afterwards : and however idle and ridi- 
culous the fables of the round table may appear at prefent, 
they were then not only univerfally known, but firmly be- 
lieved. Nothing could be more natural to fuch a romantic 
monarch, in fuch an age, than the renovation of this moft 
antient and revered inftitution of chivalry. It was a prelude 
to the renowned order of the garter, which he foon after- 
wards founded at Windfor, during the ceremonies of a mag- 
nificent feaft, which had been proclaimed by his heralds 
in Germany, France, Scotland, Burgundy, Fleynault, and 
Brabant, and lafted fifteen days \ We mull not try the 
modes and notions of other ages, even if they have arrived 
to feme degree of refinement, by thofe of our own. No- 
thing is more probable, than that this latter foundation of 
Edward the third, took its rife from the exploded flory of 
the garter of the countefs of Salifbury ^ Such an origin is 
interwoven with the manners and ideas of the times. Their 
attention to the fair fex entered into every thing. It is by 
no means unreafonable to fuppofe, that the fantaftic collar 
of EOes, worn by the knights of this Order, was an allufion 
to her name. FroifTart, an eye-witnefs, and well acquainted 

'' Walfing, p. 117. 

* Ord. Gart. ii. 92. 

*■ Barnes, i. ch. 22. p. 292. FroilTart, 
c. !00. Anftis, ut fupr. 

* Afh-mole proves, that the orders of the 
Annnnciadti, and of the Toifon d^Or, hnd 
the like origin. Ord. Gart. p. 180. 181. 
Even in the enfigns of the order of the 
Holy Ghoft, founded fo late as 1578, fome 
love-myfteries and emblems were concealed 
under cyphers introduced into the blafonrie. 
See Le Labourer, Contin. des Mem. -de 
Caftelnau, p. 895. " 11 y eut plus de myf- 
'* ileres d'amourcttes c[ue de religion, &:c." 

But I cannot in this place help obferving, 
that the fantaftic humour of unriddling 
emblematical myfteries, fuppofed to be con- 
cealed under all enfigns and arms, was at 
length carried to fuch an extravagance, at 
leaft in England, as to be checked by the 
legiflature. By a ftatute of queen Elifabeth, 
a fevere penalty is laid, " on all fond 
" phantaftical prophecies upon or by the 
** occafion of any arms, fields, bealles, 
*' badges, or the like things accullomed 
" in arms, cognifaunccs, or fignctts, &;c." 
Statut. v. Eliz, ch. 15. A. D. 1564. 




with the hitiigues of the court, relates at large the king's 
affeclion for the couiitefs j and particularly defcribes a grand 
caroufal which he gave in confequence of that attachment ^ 
The firft feflival of this order was not only adorned by the 
braveft champions of chriflendom, but by the prefence of 
queen Philippa, Edward's confort, accompanied with three 
hundred ladies of noble families ^ The tournaments of 
this ftately reign were conflantly crouded with ladies of the 
firft diftinflion 3 who fometimes attended them on horfeback, 
armed witli daggers, and dreffed in a fuccin6l foldier-like 
habit or uniform prepared for the purpofe \ In a tour- 
nament exhibited at London, fixty ladies on palfries ap- 
peared, each leading a knight with a gold chain. In this 
manner they paraded from the tower to Smithfield '. Even 
Philippa, a queen of fmgular elegance of manners ^^ par- 
took fo much of the heroic fpirit which was univerfally 
difFufed, that juft before an engagement with the king 
of Scotland, fhe rode round the ranks of the Englifli 
army encouraging the foldiers, and was with fome diffi- 
cuhy perfuaded or compelled to relinquifli the field '. The 
countefs of Montfort is another eminent inftance of female 
heroifm in this age. V/hen the ftrong town of Hennebond, 
near Rennes, w^as befieged by the French, this redoubted 

^ Ubi fupr. 

s They foon afterwards regularly re- 
ceived robes, with the knights companions, 
for this ceremony, powdered with garters. 
Afhmol, Ord. Gart. 217. 594. And Anflis, 
ii. 123. 

'i Knyghton, Dec. Script, p. 2597. 

i FroifTart apud Stowe's Surv. Lend. p. 
718. edit. 1616, At an earlier period, the 
growing gallantry of the times appears in a 
public inftrument. It is in the reign of 
Edward the firft. Twelve jurvmen depofe 
upon oath the ftate of the king's lordfhip 
at Woodrtock ; and among other things it 
is folemnly recited, that Henry the fecond 
often refided at Woodllock, " pro amore 

" cujufdam mulieris nomine Rofamunda." 
Hearne's Avelbury, Append, p. 331.. 

^ And of diftinguifhed beauty. Hearne 
fays, that the ftatuaries of thofe days ufed 
to make queen Philippa a model for their 
images of the Virgin Mary. GlofT. Rob. 
Brun. p. 349. He adds, that the holy 
virgin, in a reprefentation of her afTump- 
tion, was conftantly figured young and 
beautiful ; and that the artifts before the 
Reformation generally " had the moft 
" beautiful women of the greateft quality 
" in their view, when they made ftatues 
♦* and figures of her." Ibid. p. 550. 

^ FroifTart. i. c. 138. 




amazon rode in complete armour from ftreet to flreet, on a 
large courfer, animating the garifon ". Finding from a high 
tower that the whole French army was engaged in the af- 
fault, {lie iflued, thus completely accoutred, through a con- 
venient poflern at the head of three hundred chofen foldiers, 
and fet fire to the French camp ". In the mean time riches 
and plenty, the efFe61:s of conqueft, peace, and profperity, 
were fpread on every fide ; and new luxuries were imported 
in great abundance from the conquered countries. There 
were few families, even of a moderate condition, but had 
in their pofleflion precious articles of drefs or furniture 3 fuch 
as filks, fur, tapeftry, embroidered beds, cups of gold, filver, 
porcelain, and cryilal, bracelets, chains, and necklaces, 
brought from Caen, Calais, and other opulent foreign cities °. 
The encreafe of rich furniture appears in a foregoing reign. 
In an a6l of Parliament of Edward the firft ^ are many 
regulations relating to goldfmiths, not only in London, 
but in other towns, concerning the fterling allay of veflels 
and jewels of gold and filver, &c. And it is faid, " Gra- 
*' vers or cutters of ftones and feals fhall give every one 
" their juft weight of filver and gold." It fliould be 

*" Froiflart fays, that when the Englifli 
proved viftorious, the countefs came out 
of the caftle, and in the ftreet kiffed Sir 
Walter Manny, the Englifh general, and 
his captains, one after another, twice or 
thrice, comme noble et 'valliant dame. On 
another like occafion, the faajie hiflorian re- 
lates, that fhe went out to meet the officers, 
whom {he kiffed and fumptuoufly enter- 
tained in her callle. i. c. 86. At many 
magnificent tournaments in France, the la- 
dies determined the prize. See Mem. Anc. 
Cheval. i. p. 175. feq. p. 223. feq. An 
Englifh fquire, on the fide of the French, 
captain of the caftle of Beaufort, called him- 
felf le Pour/ui'vant d'umonr, in i 369. Froif- 
fart, 1. i. c. 64. In the midft of grand en- 
gagements between the French and Englifh 
armies, when perhaps the interells of both 

nations are vitally concerned, Froiflart gives 
many inftances of officers entering into fe- 
parate and perfonal combat to difpute the 
beauty of their refpeftive miftreffes. Hift. 
1. ii. c. 33. 43. On this occafion an inge- 
nious French writer obferves, that Homer's 
heroes of antient Greece are juft as extrava- 
gant, who in the heat of the fight often ftop 
on a fudden, to give an account of the ge- 
nealogy of themfelves or of their hories. 
Mem. Anc. Cheval. ubi fupr. Sir Walter 
Manny, in 1343. in attacking the caftle of 
Guigard exclaims, " let me never be be- 
*' loved of my miftrefs, if I rcfufe this at^ 
" tack, &c." Froiflart, i. 81. 

" Froiflart, i. c. 80. Du. Chefne, p. 656. 
Mezeray, ii. 3. p. 19. feq. 

" Walfing. Ypodigm. 121. Hift. 159. 

P A. D. 1300. Edw. i. an. 28. cap. xx. 



remembered, that about this period Europe had opened 
a new commercial intercourfe with the ports of India ''. 
No lefs than eight fumptuary laws, which had the ufual 
efFe6l of not being obferved, were enabled in one feflion 
of parliament during this reign '. Amid thefe growing, 
elegancies and fuperfluities, foreign manners, efpecially 
of the French, were perpetually encreafmgj and the native 
fimplicity of the Englifli people was perceptibly corrupted 
and effaced. It is not quite uncertain that mafques had their 
beginning in this reign % Thefe fliews^ in which the greateit 
perfonages of the court often bore a part, and which arrived 
at their height in the reign of Henry the eighth, encou- 
raged the arts of addrefs and decorum, and are fymptoms o£ 
the rife of polifhed manners \ ' 

In a reign like this, we fhall not be furprifed to find fuch- 
a poet as Chaucer, with whom a new era in Englifh poetry 
begins, and on whofe account many of thefe circumllances 
are mentioned, as they ferve to prepare the reader for his. 
character, on which they throw no inconfiderable light. 

But before we enter on fo ample a field, it will be perhaps 
lefs embarrafiing, at lead more confident with our prefcribed 
method, if we previoufiy difplay the merits of two or three 
poets, who appeared in the former part of the reign of 
Edward the third, with other incidental matters. 

The firfl of thefe is Richard Hampole, an eremite of the 
order of faint Auguftine. He was a do6tor of divinity, and 
lived a folitary life near the nuns of Hampole, four miles 
from Doncafter in Yorkfhire. The neighbourhood, of this 
female fociety could not withdraw our reclufe from his de- 

^ Anderfon, Hift. Comm. i. p. 141* See the genius of that reign admirably cha- 

^ Ann. 37 Edw. iii. cap. viii. feq. rafterifed, and by the hand of a mafter, in. 

* See fupr. p. 338. biihop Lowth's Life of WyKEHAM,pago 

' This fpirit of fplendor and gallantry 222. Seealfo Hollingfh. Chron. fub. ann. 

was continued in the reign of his mccefTor. 1399- P- 508. col. i. 



votions and his ftudles. He flouriflied in the year 1349 ", 
His Latin theological tracts, both in profe and verfe, are 
numerous j in which Leland juftly thinks he has difplayed 
more erudition than eloquence. His principal pieces of 
Englifla rhyme are a Paraphrafe of part of the book of Job, 
of the Lord's prayer, of the feven penitential pfalms, and the 
Pricke of Conscience. But our hermit's poetry, which in^ 
deed from thefe titles promifes but little entertainment, has 
no tinifture of fentiment, imagination, or elegance. The 
following verfes are extra6led from the Pricke of Con- 
science, one of the moil common manufcripts in our libra- 
ries, and I prophecy that I am its lafl tranfcriber. But I muft 
obferve firft, that this piece is divided into kvQn parts. L Of 
man's nature. IL Of the world. IIL Of death. IV. Of 
purgatory. V. Of the day of judgment. VL Of the tor- 
ments of hell. Vn. Of the joys of heaven "", 

Monkynde is to godus wille 
And alle his biddyngus to fulfil le 
Ffor of al his makyng more and les 
Man mofl principal creature es 
All that he made for man hit w^as done 
As ye fchal here aftir lone 
God to monkynde had gret love 
When he ordeyned to monnes behove 
This world and heven hym to glade 
There in myddulerd mon lafl he made 
To his likenes in feire flature 
To be mofl worthy creature 
Beforen all creatures of kynde 
He yef hym wit fkile and mynde 

" Wharton, App. ad Cave, p. 75. Sx- DIgb. Bibl. Bodl. Sj, It is called The 

cul. Wicklev. Kev of KNOWING. Princ. 

"^ Stimulus CoNsciENTi^ thys loke 
ys namyd, MS. Afhmol. fol. N'\ 41 . There The migt of the fader almiti 

is much tranfpofition in this copy. In MS. The wifdom of the fone al witti. 



Ffor too knowe bothe good and ille 
And als he yaf him a fre wille 
Fforto chefe and forto holde 
Good or yvel whedur he wolde 
And as he ordeyned mon to dwelle 
To lyve in erthe in fleflch and fell 
To knowe his workus and hym worfhepc 
And his comaundement to kepe 
And yif he be to god buxome 
To endeles blis aftir to come 
And yif he wrongly here wende 
To peyne of helle withouten ende 
God made to his owne likenes 
Eche mon lyving here more and les 
To whom he hath gyven wit and fkil 
Ffor to knowe bothe good and il 
And wille to thefe as they vouchfave 
Good or evil whether thei wole have 
He that his wille to good wole bowe 
God wole hym with gret mede allowe 
He that wukudnes wole and wo 
Gret peyne iliall he have alfo 
That mon therfore holde is for wood 
That chefuth the evel and leveth the good 
God made mon of moft dignite 
Of all creatures moft fre 
And namely to his owne liknes 
As bifore tolde hit es 
And moft hath gyven and yit gyveth 
Than to any creature that lyveth 
And more hath het hym yit therto 
Hevene blis yif he wel do 
And yit when he had don amys 
And hadde loft that ilke blis 
Vol. I. LI. God 


God tok monkynde for his fake 
And for his love deth wolde take 
And with his blod boughte hem ayene 
To his blifTe fro endeles peyne. 

Prima Pars de Miseria Humanje Conditionis.^ 

Thus gret love god to man kidde 

And mony goode dedus to hym didde 

Therefore eche mon lernd and lewed 

Schulde thynke on love that he hem fchewed 

And thefe gode dedus holde in mynde 

That he thus dide to monkynde 

And love and thanke hym as he con 

And ellus he is unkynde mon 

Bot he ferve hym day and nyght 

And his yiftes ufen hem right 

To fpende his wit in godus fervyfe 

Certainly ellus he is not wife 

Bot he knowe kyndely what god es 

And what mon is that is les 

Thou febul mon is foule and body 

Thou ftrong god is and myghty 

Thou mon greveth god that doth not welle 

What mon is v/orthi therefore to fele 

Thou mercyfuU and gracious god is 

And thou full of alle goodnefs 

Thou right wis and thou fothfafte 

What he hath done and Aral atte lafte 

And eche day doth to monkynde 

This fchulde eche mon have in mynde • 

Ffor the rihte waye to that blis 

That leduth mon thidur that is this 

The waye of mekenes principally 

To love and drede god almighty 



This is the waye into wifdome 

Into whuche waye non may come 

Withouten knowing of god here 

His myghtus and his workes fere 

But ar he to that knowyng wynne 

Hymfelf he mot knowe withynne 

Ellus knowyng may not be 

To wifdom way non entre 

Some han wit to undurftonde 

And yit thei are ful unknowonde 

And fome thing hath no knowyng 

That myght them flure to good lyving" 

Tho men had nede to lerne eche day 

Of men that con more then thay 

That myhte to knowynge hem lede 

In mekenes to love god and drede 

Which is waye and goode wiflyng 

That may to heven bhs men brynge 

In gret pil [peril] of fowle is that mon 

That hath wit mynde and no good con 

And wole not lerne for to knawe 
The workus of god and his lawe 
He nyle do afturmefl no left 
Bot lyveth lyke an unlkilfull beft 
That nouther hath fkil wit nor mynde 
That mon lyveth ayeyn his kynde 
Yit excufeth not his unknowyng 
That his wit ufeth not in leryng 
Namely in that him oweth to knowe 
To -meke his herte and make it lowe 
The unknowyng fchulde have wille 
To lerne to know good and ille 
He that ought con fchulde lere more 
To knowe al that nedeful wore 

L 1 2 For 


For the unknowyng by lerning 

May brought be to underftondyng 

Of mony thyngus to knowe and fe 

That hath bin is and (hal be 

And fo to mekenes flure his wille 

To love and drede god and leve al ille. 

Mony ben glad triful to here 

And vanitees woU gladly lere 

Bify they bin in word and thought 

To lerne that foul helputh nought 

But that that nedeful were to knowe 

To here they are wondur-flowe 

Therefore con thei nothing fe 

The pereles thei fchulde drede and fle 

And what weye thei fchulde take 

And whiche weye thei fchulde forfake 

No wondur is though thei go wronge 

In derknes of unknowyng they gonge 

Without light of vindurftondynge 

Of that that falluth to right knowynge 

Therefore eche criften mon and wommon 

That wit and wifdom any con 

That tou the righte weye not fen 

Nor flie the periles that wife flen 

Schulde buxom be and bify 

To heren and leren of hem namely 

That undurflonden and knowen flil 

Wheche weye is good and wheche is il 

He that wole right weye of lyving loke. 

Shall thus bigynne feith the boke 

To know firft what hymfelf is 

So may he come to mekenys 

That ground of all virtues is lafl 

On whiche all virtues may be fledefaft 



He that knoweth well and con fe 

What he is was and fchal be 

A wifere man may be told 

Whethur he be young or old 

Then he that con al other thing 

And of hymfelf hath no knowyng 

He may no good knowe ny fele 

Bot he furfl knowe hym felven wele 

Therfore a mon fchulde furft lere 

To knowe hymfelf propurly here 

Ffor yif he knewe hymfelf kyndely 

Then may he knowe god almighty 

And on endyng thinke fchulde he 

And on the lafl day that fchal be 

Knowe fchulde he what this worlde es 

Full of pompe and lecheroufnes 

And lerne to knowe and thynke with alle 

What fchal aftir this lyf bifalle 

Knowyng of this fchulde hym lede 

To mete with mekenes and with drede 

So may he come to good lyvyng 

And atte lafl to good endyng 

And when he of this worlde fchal wende 

Be brought to blis withouten ende 

The bigynnyng of this proces 

Right knowyng of a mon hymfelf hit es 

Bot fomme mon ban gret lettynge 

That thei may have no right knowynge 

Of hemfelfe that thei fchulde firll: knawe 

That firft to mekenes fchulde hem draw 

Ther of fome thyngus I fynde 

That monnes wit makuth ofte blynde 

And knowyng of hymfelf hit lettuth 

Wherefore he hymfelf foryetuth 



To this witnes Bernard anfwers 

And tho four are written in thes vers '', &c. 

In the Bodleian library I find three copies of the Pricke 
OF Conscience very different from that which I have juft 
cited. In thefe this poem is given to Robert Groflhead 
bifliop of Lincoln, above-mentioned ^. With what proba- 
bility, I will not flay to enquire ; but haften to give a fpeci- 
men. I will only premife, that the language and hand-writ- 
ing are of confiderable antiquity, and that the lines are 
here much longer. The poet is defcribing the future rewards 
and punifliments of mankind. 

The goode foule fchal have in his herynge 

Gret joye in hevene and grete lykynge: 

Ffor hi fchulleth yhere the aungeles fong, 

And with hem hi fchulleth ^ fynge ever among. 

With delitable voys and fwythe clere, 

And alfo with that hi fchullen have ire * 

All other maner of ech a melodye, 

Off well lykyng noyfe and menflralfye, 

And of al maner tenes ^ of mufike. 

The whuche to mannes beorte migte like, 

Withoute eni maner of travayle. 

The whuche fchal never cefTe ne fayle : 

And fo ^ fchil fchal that noyfe bi, and fo fv/ete. 

And fo delitable to fmale and to grete. 

That al the melodye of this worlde heer 

That ever was yhuryd ferre or neer 

Were therto ** bote as forwe * and care 

To the bliile that is in hevene well zare *". 

^ Compare Tanner, Bibl. p. 375. col. i. ** The migt of the fader of hevene 

And p. 374. col. I. Notes. And G host- •* The wit of his fon with his giftes fevene." 
HEAD. And MSS. A(hm.52.pergamen. 4'", 

y Laud. K. 65. pergamen. And G. 2i» * Shall. * Ever, always. ^ Tunes. 

AndMSS. Digb. 14. Princ. « Shrill. ''But. '^Sorrow. 'Prepared. 



Of the contrarie of that blijfe, 

Wei grete forwe fchal the fynfolke ^ bytyde, 

Ffor he fchullen yhere in ech a fyde '', 

Well gret noyfe that the feondes * willen make, 

As thei al the worlde fcholde alto fchake ; 

And alle the men lyvynge that migte hit yhure, 

Scholde here wit ^ loofe, and no lengere alyve ' dure. 

Thanne hi *" fchulleth for forwe here hondes wringe. 

And ever weilaway hi fchullethe be cryinge, &c. 

The gode men fchullethe have worfchipes grete. 

And eche of them fchal be yfet in a riche fete. 

And ther as kynges be ycrownid fayre, 

And digte with riche perrie " and fo yfetun ** in a chayre. 

And with ftones of vertu and precioufe of choyfe. 

As David thy faid to god with a mylde voyce, 

Pofidjii, dominey fuper caput eortiitty &c. 

** Lorde, he feyth, on his heved thou fetteft wel arigt 

" A coronne of a pretious ilon richeliche ydigt." 

And fo fayre a coronne nas never non yfene. 

In this worlde on kynges hevede p, ne on quene ; 

Ffor this coronne is the coronne of bliffe, 

And the fton is joye v/hereof hi fchilleth never mifle, &c. 

The fynfolke fchulleth, as I have afore ytold, 

Ffele outrageous hete, and afterwards to muche colde -, 

Ffor nowe he fchullethe freofe, and now brenne % 

And fo be ypyned that non fchal other kenne \ 

And alfo be ybyte with dragonnes felle and kene. 

The whuche fchulleth hem deftrye outrigte and clene, 

8 Sinners. h Either fide. ^ Devils. ^ Senfes. ' Remain. " They. 

• Precious ftones. • Seated. J» H,ead. « This is the hell of the monks, which 
Milton has adopted. ' Know. 



And with other vermyn and belies felle. 

The whiche beothe nougt but fendes of helle, &c. 

We have then this defcription of the New Jerufalem. 

This citie is yfet on an hei hille. 

That no fynful man may therto tille ' : 

The whuche ich likne to beril clene. 

And fo fayr berel may non be yfene. 

Thulke hyl is nougt elles to underftondynge 

Bote holi thugt, and defyr brennynge, 

The whuche holi men hadde heer to that place. 

Whiles hi hadde on eorthe here ly ves fpace ; 

And i likne, as ymay ymagene in my thougt, 

The walks of hevene, to walles that were ywrougt 

Of all maner precioufe flones yfet yfere \ 

And yfemented with gold brigt and clere j 

Bot fo brigt gold, ne non fo clene. 

Was in this worlde never yfene, &c. 

The wardes of the cite of hevene brigt 

I likne to wardes that wel were ydygt, 

And clenly ywrougt and fotely enteyled. 

And on filver and gold clenly avamayled ", &c. 

The torettes ' of hevene grete and fmale 

1 likne to the torrettes of clene criflale, &c. 

I am not, in the mean time, quite convinced that any 
manufcript of the Pricke of Conscience in Englifh belongs 
to Hampole. That this piece is a tranflation from the Latin 
appears from thefe verfes. 

Therefore this boke is in Englis drawe 
Of fele " matters that bene unknawe 

^ Come. ' Together. " Aumayled. ^ Tunets^ * Many. 




To lewed men that are unkonande [ 
That con no latyn undirftonde ^. 

The Latin origmal in profe, entitled, Stimulus Conscien^ 
Ti^ *, was moll probably written by Hampole : and it is 
not very likely that he fliould tranflate his own work. The 
author and tranilator were eafily confounded. As to the 
copy of the Englifh poem given to bifliop Grofthead, he 
could not be the tranflator, to fay nothing more, if Hampole 
wrote the Latin original. On the whole, whoever was the 
author of the two tranflations, at leaft we may pronounce 
with fome certainty, that they belong to the reign of Ed- 
ward the third. 

y Ignorant. 

^ MSS. T>igb. ut fupr. 87. ad prlncip. 

* In the Cambridge manufcript of Ham- 
pole's Paraphrase on the Lord's 
Prayer, above-mentioned, containing a 
prolix defcription of human virtues and 
vices, at the end, this remark appears. 
*' Explicit quidam tradlatus fuper Pater 
*• no^tr /ecundum Ric. Hampole qui obiit 
*' A. D. McccLxxxiv." [But the true 
date of his death is in another place, viz. 
1348.] MSS. More, 215. Princ. 

" Almighty God in trinite 

*' In whom is only perfonnes thre." 

The Paraphrase on the book of 
Job-, mentioned alfo before, feems to have 
cxifted firft in Latin prsfe under the title of 
Parvum Job. The Englifh begins thus : 

" LiefF lord my foul thou fparc." 

In Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Laud, F. 77. 5, &c. 
&c. it is a paraphrafe of fome Excerpta 
from the book of ]oh. The seven peni- 
tential Psalms begin thus : 

" To goddis worfchlppe thatdere us bougt." 

MSS. Bodl. Digb. 18. Ham pole's Expo- 
siTio IN Psalterium is not uncommon 
in Englifh. It has a preface in Englifh 
rhymes in ibme copies, in praife of the 
author and his work. Pr. " This blellyd 
" boke that hire." MSS. Laud. F. 14, &c. 
Kampole was a very popular writer. Moft 

Vol. L M 

of his many theological pieces feem to have 
been tranllated into Englifh foon after thejr 
appeared: and thofe pieces abound among 
our manufcripts. Two of his trafts were 
tranflated by Richard Mifyn, prior of the 
Carmelites at Lincoln, about the year 
1435. The Incendium Amoris, at the 
requell of Margaret Hellingdon a reclufe, 
Princ. " To the alkynge of thi defire." 
And De Emendatione Vit^. "Tarry 
" thou not to oure." They are in the 
tranflator's own the library 
of C.C.C. Oxon. MSS. 237. I find other 
antient tranflations of both thefe pieces. 
Particularly, The Prick e of Love after 
Richard Hampcl tretin^ of the three degrees 
of lo^je. MSS. Bodl. Arch. B. 65. f. 109. 
As a proof of the confufions and uncer- 
tainties attending the works of our author, 
I muft add, that we have a tranflation of his 
tracl De Emendatione under this title. 
The form of psrfyt U'ving, ivhicb holy Ri- 
chard the hermit aurote to a reclufe named 
Margarete. MS. Vernon, But Margarete 
is evidently the reclufe, at whofe requell 
Richard Mifyn, many years after Ham- 
pob's death, tranflated the Incendium 
Amoris. I'hefe obfervations, to which 
others might be added, are fufficient to 
confirm the fufpicions infinuated in the 
text. Many of Hampole's Latin theolo- 
gical trafts were printed very early at Paris 
and Cologne. 





TH E next poet in fucceflion is one who deferves mo-re 
attention on various accounts. This is Robert Long- 
lande, author of the poem called the Vision of Pierce 
Plowman, a fecular prieft, and a fellow of Oriel college, 
in Oxford. He flourifhed about the year 1350 *. This 
poem contains a feries of diftinft vifions, which the author 
imagines himfelf to have feen, while he was deeping, after 
a long ramble on Malverne-hills in Worcefterfhire. It is a 
fatire on the vices of almoft every profeffion : but particu- 
larly on the corruptions of the clergy, and the abfurdities 
of fuperftition. Thefe are ridiculed with much humour and 
fpirit, couched under a ilrong vein of allegorical invention. 
But inftead of availing himfelf of the rifing and rapid im- 
provements of the Englifh language, Longland prefers and 
adopts the flyle of the Anglo-Saxon poets. Nor did he 
make thefe writers the models of his language only : he 
likewife imitates their alliterative verfification, which con- 
fifted in ufmg an aggregate of words beginning with the 
fame letter. He has therefore reie6led rhyme, in the place 
of which he thinks it fufficient to fubilitute a perpetual al- 
literation. But this impofed conftraint of feeking identical 
initials, and the afFe6lation of obfolete Englifli, by demand- 
ing a conftant and necefTary departure from the natural and 
obvious forms of expreffion, while it circumfcribed the 
powers of our author's genius, contributed alfo to render 

» I have here followed a date commonly is alfo mentioned as a recent fact ; and 

received. But it may be cbferved, that Bribery Acc\i{es Conjaence of ohtirai^'mg the 

there is in this poem an allufion to the fall conqueft of France. See more in Obferva- 

of Edward the fecond. The ftege of Calais tions on the Fairy Queen, ii. §. xi. p. 28 1 . 



his manner extremely perplexed, and to difgufl the reader 
with obfcurities. The fatire is conduced by the agency of 
feveral allegorical perfonages, fuch as Avarice, Bribery, 
Simony, Theology, Confcience, &c. There is much ima- 
gination in the following pi6lure, which is intended to 
reprefent human life, and its various occupations. 

Then gan I to meten a merveloufe fweven. 

That I was in wildernes, I wyft never where : 

As I beheld into theaft, on highe to the funne 

I faw a tower on a loft, rychlych ymaked, 

A depe dale beneth, a dungeon therein. 

With depe diches and darcke, and dreadful! of fyght : 

A fayre felde ful of folke found I ther betwene, 

Of all maner men, the meane and the riche. 

Working and wandring, as the world afketh j 

Some put hem to the ploughe, pleiden full felde. 

In fetting and fowing fwonken full harde : 

And fome put hem to pryd ^ &c. 

The following extra6ls are not only ftriking fpecimens of 
our author's allegorical fatire, but contain much fenfe and 
obfervation of life, with fome ftrokes of poetry % 

Thus robed in ruffe t, I romed aboute 
All a fomer feafon, for to feke ** Dowel 
And freyned " full oft, of folke that I mette 
If any wight wift, wher Dowel ^ was at inne. 
And what man he might be, of many man I afked, 
Was never wight as I went, that me wyfh ^ could 

^ Fol.i.a.edit. 1550. By Roberta Crow- format, i. 135. And Ames, Hift. Print. 

!ey. 4to. He jJrinted three editions in this p. 270. 

one year. Another was printed [with Pierce « F. 39. feq. PafT. viii. feq/edit. 1550. 

Plowman's Crede annexed] by Owen ^ Do-well. ' Enquired. 

Rogers, J561. ^to. See Strype, Ann, Re- ' Lived. e Inform me. 

M m 2 Where 


Where this ladde lenged ^, lefTe or more, 

Tyll it befell on a Fryday, two fryers I mette 

Maifters of the minours ', men of greate wytte 

I halfed hem hendelye ^, as I had learned 

And prayed hem for charitie, or they pafTed furthur 

If they knewe any courte or countrye as they went 

Where that Dowell dwelleth, do me to wytte ' 

For they be men on this mould, that mofl wide walke 

And knowe contries and courts, and many kinnes " places 

Both princes palaces, and pore menes cotes 

And Dowel and Doevil, where they dwell both, 

Amongefl us quoth the minours, that man is dwellinge 

And ever hath as I hope, and ever fhall hereafter. 

Contra quod I, as a clarke, and cumfed to difputen 

And fayde hym fothelye, Septies in die cadit juftus. 

Seven " fythes fayeth the boke, fynneth the rightfull. 

And who fo fynneth I fay, doth evel as me thinketh. 

And Dowel and Doevyl may not dwel togither. 

Ergo he is not alway among you fryers 

He is other whyle els where, to wyfhen the peopleo. 

I fhal fay the my fonne, fayde the frier than 

How feven fithes the fadde ° man on a day fynneth,, 

By a forvifne ^ quod the fryer, I Ihal the faire fhewe. 

Let bryng a man in a bote, amyd the brode water 

The winde and the water, and the bote waggyng 

Make a man many time, to fall and to flande 

For ftand he never fo ftiffe, he ilumbleth if he move 

And yet is he fafe and founde, and fo hym behoveth. 

For if he ne arife the rather, and raght to the flere, 

The wind would with the water the boote overthrow. 

And than were his life loft through latches '^ of himfelf. 

And thus it falleth quod the frier, bi folk here on ertli 

* Lived. * The friers minors. ^ Saluted them civilly. ' Know. 

Sorts of. * Time*. • Sober. Good, f Similitude. i Lftzinefs. 



The water is likned to the world, that waneth and wexeth 

The goods of this world ar likened to the gret waves 

That as winds and wethers, walken a bout. 

The boote is likende to our body, that brytil is of kynd 

That through the fleflie, and the frayle worlde 

Synneth the fadde man, a day feven tymes 

And deadly fynne doeth he not, for Dowel him kepeth 

And that is Charitie the chapion, chiefe helpe agayne fmne,, 

For he ftrengtheth man to ftand, and flirreth mans foule 

And thoughe thy bodi bowe, as bote doth in water,. 

Aye is thy foule fafe, but if thou wylt thy felf 

Do a deadlye fume, and drenche fo thy foule 

God wyll fuffer wel thy flouth, if thy felfe lyketli 

For he gafe the two yerefgifts, to teme wel thy felfe 

And that is witte and frewil, to every wight a portion 

To flyinge fowles, to fifties, and to beaftes 

And man hath mofte therof, and moft is to blame 

But if he worch wel therwith, as Dowel hym teacheth 

I have no kind knowyng quoth I, to coceive all your wordes 

And if I may live and loke, 1 ftial go learne better 

I bikenne the Chrift, that on the crofle dyed 

And I faid the fame, fave you from mifchaunce 

And give you grace on this ground good me to worth. 

And thus I went v/ide wher, walking mine one 

By a wyde weldernes, and by a woddes fyde^. 

BlifTe of the birdes, brought me on flepe, 

And under a lynde ' on a land, lened I a ftounde ' 

To lyth the layes ', tho lovely fowles made, 

Myrthe of her mouthes made me there to flepe 

The marveloufeft metelles, mette " me than 

That ever dremed wyght, in world as I wente. 

A much man as me thought, and like to my felfe. 

Came and called me, by my kinde "" name 

» Lime treeo » Awhile. » Liftcn, ^ Djeamed,, " Own. 




What art thou quod I tho, thou that my name knowefte 

That thou wottefl wel quod he, and no wight better 

Wot I what thou art ? Thought fayd he than, 

I have fued '' the this feven yeres, fe ye me no rather ? 

Art thou Thought quoth I tho, thou couldeft me wysfhe 

Wher that Dowel dwelleth, and do me that to knowe 

Dowel and Dobetter, and Dobest the thirde quod he 

Are thre fayre vertues, and be not farre to finde, 

Who fo is true of hys tonge, and of hys two handes 

And through his labor or his lod, his Hvelod wineth ^ 

And is trufty of hys taylyng % taketh but his owne 

And is no drunklewe "' ne dedigious, Dowel him followeth 

Dobet doth ryght thus, and he doth much more 

He is as lowe as a lamb, and lovely of fpeache 

And helpeth al men, after that hem nedeth 

The bagges and the bigirdles, he hath to brok ^ hem al. 

That the erle avarous helde and hys heyres 

And thus to Mamons mony he hath made him frendes 

And is runne to religion, and hath rendred ' the bible 

And preached to the people, faynte Paules werdes 

Libenter fuffertis infipientes cum fitis ipfi fapientes. 

And fuffereth the unwyfe, wyth you for to lyve 

And with glad wil doth he good, for fo god you hoteth 

Dobest is above boeth, and beareth a bifhops crofle - 

Is hoked on that one ende to halye ^ men from hell 

A pyke is on the potent * to pull downe the wyked 

That wayten anye wykednes, Dowell to tene 

And DowELL and Dobet, amongeft hem have ordeyned 

To crowne one to be kynge, to rule hem boeth 

That if DowELL and Dobet, arne ' agaynfte Dobeste 

Then fhall the kynge com, and cafl hem in yrons 

And but if Dobest byd for hem, they be there for ever 

* Sought. y Getts. ^ Dealing. Reckoning. * Drunkard. " Broke to pieces. 
«= Tranflated. •" Draw. « StafF. ' Are. 



Thus DowELL and Dobet, and Dobeste the thyrd 

Crouned one to be king, to kepen hem al 

And to rule the realme, by her ^ thre wyttes 

And none other wife, but as they thre afTentyd. 

I thanked Thought tho, that he me thus taught 

And yet favoreth me not thy fuging, I covet to lerne, 

How Dowel Dobest and Dobetter, done among the 

But Wyt can wlfh the ^ quoth Thought, wer tho ' iii dwell 
Els wot I none that can tell, that nowe is alyve. 
Thought and I thus, thre dayes we yeden " 
Difputynge upon Dowell, daye after other. 
And ere we were ware, with Wyt gan we mete 
He was longe and leane, lyke to none other 
Was no pryde on hys apparell, nor poverty nether 
Sadde of hys femblaunce, and of foft chere 
I durfte not move no matter, to make hym to laughe. 
But as I bade Thought tho be meane betwene 
And put forth fome purpofe, to prevent his wyts 
What was Dowell fro Dobet, and Dobest fro hem both. 
Than Thought in that tyme, fayd thefe wordes 
Whether Dowell Dobet, and Dobest ben in land 
Here is wyl wold wyt, if Wit could teach him 
And whether he be man or woman, this man fain wold efpy 
And worch as they thre wold, this is his enten, 
Here Dowell dwelleth quod Wit, not a day hence 
In a caflel that kind ' made, of four kins things 
Of earth and ayre is it made, mingled togithers 
With wind and with water, witterly *" enjoyned 
Kynde hath clofed therin, craftely withall 
A Lemman " that he loveth, like to him felfe 
An IMA fhe hyght, and Envye her hateth 

g Their. »> Thee. i They. '' WenU ^ Nature. 

* Cunningly. ■ Paramour. 

A proud^ 


A proude pricker of Fraunce, princeps hujus mundi 

And woulde wynne her away with wiles and he myghte 

And Kind knoweth thys well, and kepeth her the better. 

And dothe her with fir Dowell is duke of thys marches 

DoBET is her damofell, fir Dowel's daughter 

To ferve this lady lelly ° both late and rathe '. 

DoBEST is above both a byfhops pere, 

That he byd moote be doo "^ he ruleth them all 

Anima that lady, is led by his lerning, 

And the conftable of the cailell, that kepeth al the watche, 

Is a wyfe knight withall, fir Inwit he hight 

And hath fyve fayre fonnes by his fyrft wyfe 

Syr Seewel and Saywel, and Hearwell the end 

Syr Worchwel with thy hand, a wight man of llrength 

And Syr Godfray Gowel, great lordes forfoth 

Thefe fyve bene fet, to fave this lady Anima 

Tyl Kind com or fend, to fave her for ever 

What kins thing is Kind quod I, canft thou me telle 

Kynd quod Witte is a creator, of al kinnis thinges 

Father and former of all, that ever was makyd 

And that is the great god that ginning had never 

Lord of lyfe and of light, of blys and of payne 

Angels and al thing arne at hys wyl. 

And man is him moft like, of marke ' and of fhape. 

For through the word that he fpake, wexen forth beiles 

And made Adam, likefb to him felfe one 

And Eve of his ribbe bone, without any meane 

For he was fmguler him felfe, and fayde faciamus 

As who fay more muft hereto, then my worde one 

My might muft helpe now with my fpeche, 

Even as a lord fhuld make leters, and he lacked perchment 

Though he could write never fo wel, if he had no pen 

The letters for al his lordfhip, I leve wer never imaked 

• Fair lady, p Early^ "3 MuH be done. ' Falhion. Similitude. 

^ And 



And fo it femeth by him, as the bible telleth. 
There he fayde, Dixit et fada funt. 
He mufl worch with hys word, and his wit fhewe 
And in this maner was man made, by might of God al- 
With his word and his workmanfhip, and with life to laft 
And thus God gave him a gofte ', of the godhed of heven 
And of his great grace, graunted him blyfle 
And that is life that aye flial laft, to al our linage after 
And that is the caftel that Kinde made, Caro it hight 
And is as much to meane, as man with a foule 
And that he wrought with work, and with word both 
Through might of the majefty, man v/as imaked 
Inwyt and Alwyts, clofed bene therin 
For love of the ladie Anima, that life is nempned ' 
Over al in mans body, flie walketh and wandreth 
And in the herte is hir home, and hir moft " reft 
And In wit is in the head, and to the herte loketh 
What Anima is leef or loth '', he leadith hyr at his wil. — 
Than had Wit a wife, was bote dame Study, 
That leve was of lere, and of liche bocth. 
She was wonderli wroght. Wit me fo teched 
And al ftaryng dame Study, fternely fayde. 
Wei art you wife quoth flie to Wyt, any wyfdomes to tell 
To flatterers or to foles, that frentyke be of wyttes 
And blamed him and banned " him, and bade him be ftyl 
Wyth fuch wyfe wordes, to wyfn any fottes 
And fayde, Noli mittere man, Margarite Pearles 
Amonge hogges, that have hawes at wyll. 
They do but drivel thereon, ^ drafe were hem lever ^^ 
Than al precious pearles that in paradice waxeth \ 
I fay it by fuch, quod fhe, that fliew it by her works, 

' Spirit. t Named. " Greateft. ^ Willing. "" Curfed. ^ See Drafte- 
fack. Chauc. Urr. p. 33. v. 1098. ^ Rather. * Grow. 

Vol. I. N n That 


That hem were lever land ^ and lordfhyp on earth, 

Or ryches or rentes, and reft at her wyll, 

Than al the foth fawes, that Salomon layde ever. 

Wyfedome and wytte, nowe it not worth a kerfe " 

But if it be carded with covetis '', as clothers kemb her 

Whofo can contryve deceites and confpyre wrongs 
And lead forth a love daye % to let wyth truth 
He that fuch craftes can, is oft cleped to counfell, 
'They lead lords with leafmges, and belieth truth 
Job the gentel in his geftes, greatly wytnefTeth 
That wicked men welden the wealth of this world 
The pfalter fayeth the fame, by fuch as done evyl 
Ecce ipfi peccatores habundantes in feculo obtinuerunt divitias . 
Lo fayth holy le6lure, which lords be thefe fhrewes ? 
Thilke that god geveth moft, left good they dealeth 
And moft unkind be to that comen, that moft catel weldeth \. 
Que perfecifti deftruxerunt, juftus autem, &c. 
Harlots for her harlotrye, maye have of her goodes 
And japers and judgelers ^, and jangelers of jeftes 
And he that hath holy wryte, aye in his mouth 
And can tell of Tobie, and of the twelve apoftles 
Or preache of the penauce, that Pilate falfely wrought 
To Jefu the gentle, that Jewes to drawe : 
Lyttle is he loved, that fuche a lefTon Iheweth 
Or daunten or drawe forth, I do it on god him felfe 
But tho ^ that faine hem foles, and v/ith fayting ' liveth 
Againe the la we of our lorde, and lien on hem felfe 
Spitten and fpuen, and fpeake foule wordes 
Drynken and drivelen, and do men for to gape 
Lyken men, and lye on hem, and leneth hem no glftes 
They can ^ no more minftrelfy ne mufyke men to glad 

*' They had rather, = Not worth a ftraw. "' Covetoufnefs. *' Lady. 

* Commands. » Jugglers. ^ They. i Decci\in2. ^ Know. 



Than Mundie the milner, of multa fecit deus. 

Ne were hir vyle harlotry, have god my trouth 

Shouide never kynge ne knyght, ne canon of Poules 

Gyve hem to her yeres gvfte, ne gyft of a grote, 

And myrtli and minflreHy amongeft men is nought 

Lechery, lofenchery ', and lofels tales, 

Glotony and greate othes, this mirthe they loveth, 

And if thei carpen "" of Chrift, thefe clerkes and thefe lewed. 

And they meet in her mirth, v^han mynftrels ben ftyll 

Whan telleth they of the trinitie, a tale or tv^aine 

And bringeth forth a blade reafon, and take Bernard " to 

And put forth a prefumption to preve the foth 
Thus they dreveil at her dayfe ° the deitie to fcorn 
And gnav^en God to hyr gorge '' whan hyr guts fallen 
And the carfuU ^ may crye, and carpen at the gate 
Both a fyngerd and a furfte, and for chel ' quake 
Is none to nymen hem nere, his noye ' to am.end 
But hunten hym as a hounde, and hoten hym go hence, 
Litle loveth he that lorde that lent hym all that blilTe, 
That thus parteth withe pore, a percel whan him nedeth 
Ne were mercy in mean men, more than in rich 
Mendynauntes meatles ', myght go to bedde. 
God is much in the gorge of thefe greate maiilers, 
And amonges meane men, his mercy and hys worckes 
And lo fayeth the pfalter, I have fene it oft. 
Clarkes and other kinnes men, carpen of god faft 
And have him much in the mouth, and meane men in hert 
Friers and fayters, have founden fuch queftions 
To plefe wyth the proud men, fith the peftilence time 
And preachen at S. Paules, for pure envi of clarks 
That folke is not firmed in the faythe, ne fre of her goodes 

' Lying. "> Speak. " S. Bernard. " Their table. p Throat. s Poor. 
' Cold. * Trouble. » Beggars fupperlefs. 

N n 2 Ne 


Ne fory for her fynnes, fo is pryde waxen, 

In religion, and in al the realme, amongefl rich and pore 

That prayers have no pore, the peflilence to lette 

And yet the wretches of this worlde, are none ware by other 

Ne for dreade of the death, withdraw not her prid 

Ne ben plentuous to the pore, as pure chr-ritie wold 

But in gaines and in glotony, forglote goods hem felfe 

And breketh not to the begger, as the boke teacheth. 

And the more he wynneth, and wexeth welthy in riches 

And lordeth in landes, the lefTe good he dealeth 

Tobie telleth ye not fo, takehede ye ryche 

Howe the byble boke of hym beareth wytnes, 

Who fo hath much fpend manly, fo meaneth Tobit 

And who fo lytle weldeth, rule hym thereafter, 

For we have no letter of our life, how long it fhal endure 

Suche lefTons lordes, fhoulde love to heare 

And how he myght moft meyny, manlych fynde 

Not to fare as a fideler, or a frier to feke feaftes, 

Homely at other mens houfes, and haten her owne. 

Elenge " is the hal every day in the weke 

There the lorde ne the lady lyketh not to fytte 

Nowe hath eche ryche a rule ""j to eaten by hem felfe 

In a privie parler, for poore mens fake 

Or in chambre wyth a chymney, and leave the chiefe hal 

That was made for meales, men to eate in. — 

And whan that Wytte was ware, what dame Studie told 

He became fo confufe he cunneth not loke 

And as dombe as death, and drew him arere " 

And for no carping I cold after, ne kneling to therth 

I myght get no grayne, of his grete wyttis 

But al laughynge he louted, and loked upon Study 

In fygne that 1 fliulde, befechen hyr of grace 

" Strange, deferted. Henry the eighth, in a letter to Anne BuUen, fpeaks of his 
EUengnefs fince her departure. Hearne's Avefb. p. 26p, "" Cuftom. ^ Back. 



And when I was war of his wil, to his wife I loutid 

And fayde mercie madame, your man fhal I worth 

As longe as I Uve both late and earUe 

For to worchen your wil, the whyle mi life endureth 

With this that ye ken me kindlye, to know to what is Dowel 

For thi mekenes man quod flie, and for thi milde fpech 

I flial ken the to my cofen, that Clergye is hoten ^ 

He hath weddyd a wyfe, within thefe fyx moneths 

Is fyb '^ to the feven artes, Scripture is hyr name 

They two as I hope, after my teachinge 

Shal wiflien the Dowel, I dare under take. 

Than was I as fayne *, as foule ^ of fayr morow 

And glader then the gleman " that golde hath to gyfte 

And afked hir the high way where that Clergie '' dwelt 

And tellme fome token quod I, for tyme is that I wend 

Afke the hygh waye quod fhe, hence to fuffer 

Both wel and woo, if that thou wylt learne 

And ryde forthe by riches, and reft thou not thcrin, 

For if thou coupleft ye therwith to clergie comeft thou never 

And alfo the licores lande that lechery hight 

Leave it on thy left half, a large mile and more, 

Tyll thou come to a courte, kepe well thy tongc 

Fro leafinges and lyther fpeach ', and licorous drinckes 

Than flialt thou fe Sobrietie, and Simplicitie of fpeche 

That ech might be in his wyll, hys wytte to fhewe 

And thus fhalt ye come to Cleargye that can mani thinges 

Saye hym thys figne, I fette him to fchole 

And that I grete wel his wife, for I wrot her many bokes 

And fet hir to Sapience, and to the pfalter glofe 

Logike I learned her, and manye other lawes, 

And all the unifons to mufike, I made hir to know, 

Plato the poete, I put hem firfte to boke, 

y Named, ^ Mother. ' Chearful. '' Bird. ^ Harper, «' Learning. 

* Wanton. 




Ariftotle and other moe, to argue I taught 

Grammer for gyrles, I garde firfle to wryte 

And beat hem with a bales, but if they would learne 

Of all kinnes craftes, I contrived tooles 

Of carpentre of carvers, and compafTed mafons 

And learned hem level and line, though I loke dimme 

And Theologie hath tened me, kven fcore times. 

The more I mufe therin, the miftier it femeth 

And the deper I devine, the darker me it thynketh. 

The artifices and perfuafions of the monks to procure 
donations to their convents, are thus humoroufly ridiculed, 
in a ftrain which feems to have given rife to Chaucer's 
Sompnour's Tale. 

Than he afToyled her fone, and fithen he fayde : 
We have a windowe in working, wil fet us ful high, 
Woudft thou glafe the gable, and grave therin thy name, 
Scher fhoulde thy foule be heven to have ', &c. 

CovETisE or Covetoufnefs, is thus drawn in the true 
colours of fatirical painting. 

' fol. xu. a. b. Thefe, and the folbw- 
Ing lines, are plainly copied by Chaucer, 


And I (hall cover your kyrke, and your cloif- 
ture do maken. 

Chaucer, Sompn. T. p. 93, v. 835. edit. 
Urr. But with new ftrokes of humour, 

Ycve me then of thy golde to make our 

Quod he, for many a mufcle and many an 

Whan othir men have been full well at eafe. 
Have ben our fode our cloyfter for to reyfe. 
And yet, god wote, unnethe the fundament 
Parfourmid is, ne of our pavement 
Thar is not yet a tile within our wones, 
Bigod, we owe fourtie pound for Hones. 

So alfo in the Ploughman's Crede, 
hereafter mentioned. Sign. B. iii. A friar 

So that thou mow amende our houfe with 

money other els 
With fom catal, other corn or cuppes of 


And again. Sign. A. iii. ibid. 

And mighteft on amenden as with money 

of thine own. 
Thou fholdeft knely bifore Chrift in com- 

pas of gold, 
In the wide wyndowe weftward, wel nigh 

in the midel. 

That is, " your figure fhall be painted in 
" glafs, in the middle of the weft window, 
" &c. But of this paflage hereafter. 




And then came Covetis, can I him no difcrlve, 

60 hungerly and hoUowe, fo fternely he loked. 

He was bittle- browed and baberlypped alfo j 

Wyth two blered eyen as a blinde hagge, 

And as a lethren purfe lolled his chekes, . 

Well fyder than his chyn they flievered for colde : 

And as a bound man of his bacon his herd was bidrauled. 

With a hode on his heade, and a loufy hatte above. 

And in a tawny taberde ^ of twelve winter age, 

Alle torne and baiidye, and full of lyce creepinge; 

But that yf a loufe could have lepen the better, 

She had not walked on the welte, fo was it thredbare, 

I have been Covetife, quoth this catife. 

For fometime I fervid Symme at llyle, 

And was his prentice plight, his profyt to wate* 

Fyrft I lernid to lye, a leef other twayne 

Wychedly to way, was my firft leiTon : 

To Wy and to Wincheller ^ I went to the fayre 

? Tabard. A coat.. 

'' Antiently, before many flourifhing 
towns were ellablifned, and the necefTaries 
or ornaments of life, from the convenience 
of communication and the encreafe of pro- 
vincial ci\='ility, could be procured in va- 
rious olacfs, goods and commodities of 
every kind, were chiefly fold at fairs ; to 
which, as to one univerfal mart, the people 
reforted periodically, and fupplied moft of 
their wants for the enfuing year. The dif- 
play of merJiandife, and the conflux of 
cuftomers, at thefe principal and almoll: 
only emporia of domeftic commerce, was 
prodigious : and they were therefore often 
held en open and extenfive plains. One 
of the chief of them feems to have been 
that of St Giles's hill or down near Win- 
cheller, to which our poet here refers. It 
was inftituted and given as a kind of re- 
venue to the biliiop of Wincheller, by 
William riie conqueror ; who by his char- 
ter permitted it to continue for three days. 
But in confequence of new royal grants. 

Henry the third prolonged Its continuance; 
to fixteen days. Its jurifdidlion extended 
feven miles round, and comprehended 
even Southampton, then a capital trading 
town : and all merchants who fold wares 
within that circuit, forfeited them to the 
bifliop. Officers were placed at a confider- 
able diftance, at bridges and other avenues 
of accefs to the fair, to exaft toll of all 
merchandife palling that way. In the mean 
time, all Ihops in the city of Winchefter 
were fhut. In the fair was a court called 
the pavilion, at which the bilhop's jufl:i- 
ciaries and other officers affilled, with power 
to try caufes of various forts for feven miles 
round : nor, among other Angular claims^ 
could any lord of a manor hold a court- 
baron within the faid circuit, without li- 
cence from the pavilion. During this time, 
the bifliop was empowered to take toll of 
every load or parcel of goods palling through 
the gates of the city. On Saint Giles's eve, 
the mayor, bailiffs, and citizens of the city, 
of Winchefter, delivered the keys of the 



With mani manner merchandife, as mi mafler me hight. — ■ 

four city gates to the bifhop's ofEcers ; who, 
during the faid fixteen days, appointed a 
mayor and bailiff of their own to govern 
the city, and alf© a coroner to a6t within 
the faid city. Tenants of the bifhop, who 
held lands by doing fervice at the pavilion, 
attended the fame with horfes and armour, 
not only to do fuit at the court there, but 
to be ready to affift the bifhop's officers in 
the execution of writs and other fervices. 
But I cannot here enumerate the many ex- 
traordinary privileges granted to the bilhop 
on this occafion ; all tending to obftrufl 
trade, and to opprefs the people. Nume- 
rous foreign merchants freauented this fair: 
and it appears, that the jufticiaries of the 
pavilion, and the treafurer of the bilhop's 
palace of Wolvefey, received annually for 
a fee, according to antient cuftom, four 
bafons and ewers, of thofe foreign mer- 
chants who fold brazen veflels in the fair, 
and were called mercatores diaunteres. In 
the fair feveral llreets were formed, afligned 
to the fale of different commodities ; and 
called the Draperv, the Pottery, the Spicoy, 
See. Many monafteries, in and about Win- 
chefter, had fhops, or houfes, in thefe llreets, 
ufed only at the fair, which they held under 
the bifhop, and often lett by leafe for a 
term of years. One place in the fair was 
called Speciariiim Sa/:di S^wythini, or the 
Spicery of Saint Sivithin's monajiery. In 
the revenue-rolls of the antient bifhops of 
Winchefter, this fair makes a grand and 
feparate article of reception, under this 
title. Feria. Ccm^utti5ffcri<£ faniii Egidii. 
But in the revenue-roll of bifhop Will, of 
Waynflete, [an 147 1.] it appears to have 
greatly decayed : in which, among other 
proofs, I find mention made of a diitriti 
in the fair being unoccupied, " Vbi homines 
" Cornuhifs Jiare folehafit" From whence 
it likewife appears that different counties 
had their different ilations. The whole re- 
ception to the billiop this year from tlie fair, 
amounted only to 45/, :8i. 5 i/. Yet this 
fr.m, fniall as it may feem, was worth up- 
wards of 400/. Edward the firll tent a pre- 
cept to the fhcriff of Hamplhire, to reilore 
to the bilhop this fair ; which his efcheator 
Malcolm de Hailegh had fcized into the 

king's hands, without command of the trea- 
fuer and barons of the exchequer, in the 
year 1292. Regiftr. Joh. de PontifTara, 
Epifc. Wint. fol. 195. After the charter 
of Henry the third, many kings by char- 
ter confirmed this fair, with all its privi- 
leges, to the bifhops of Winchefler. The 
lall charter was of Henry the eighth to 
biihop Richard Fox and his fucceffors, in 
the year 1511. But it was followed by the 
ufual confirmation-charter of Charles the 
fecond. In the year 11 44, when Brian 
Fitz-count, lord of Wallingford in Berk- 
fhire, maintained Wallingford caflle, one 
of the flrongefl garrifons belonging to 
Maud the emprefs, and confequently fent 
out numerous parties for contributions and 
provifions, Henry de Blois bifhop of Win- 
chefler enjoined him not to mo'ell any paf- 
fengers that were coming to his fair at Win- 
chefler, under pain of excommunication. 
Omnibus ad Feriam meam 'venientibjiSy 
Sec. MSS. Dodfworth. vol, 89. f. 76. Bibl. 
Bodl. This was in king Stephen's reign. 
In that of Richard the firfl:, in the year 
1 1 94, the king grants to Portfmouth a 
fair lafiing for fifteen days, with all the pri- 
vileges of Saint Giles's fair at Winchefler. 
Anderf. Hifl. Com. i. 197. In the year 
1234, the eighteenth of Henry the fecond, 
the f^rmier of the city of Winchefler paid 
twenty pounds to Ailward chamberlain of 
Winchefler caflle, to buy a robe at this fair 
for the king's fon, and divers filver imple- 
ments for a chapel in the callle. Madox, 
Exch. p. 251. It appears from a curious 
record now remaining, containing T'/je £/- 
trJ'>l:Jhment and Expenccs of the houjl^'dd of 
Flenry Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, 
in the year 1512, and printed by dcdlor 
Percy, that the flores of his Icrdfhip's houfe 
at Wrefille, for the whole year, were laid 
in from fairs, " He that flandes charged 
" with my lordcs houfe for the houll yeir, 
" if he may p offible.y^ia// be at allY h\Ki% 
*' where the grcice em.ptions fhall be 
*• boughte for the houfe for tlie houlle yeire, 
" as wine, wax, beiffes, muhons, wheite, 
" and maltio." p. 407. This lall quota- 
tion is a proof, that fairs flill continued to 
be the principal marts for purchafing necef- 



Than drave I me among drapers my donet * to lerne. 
To drawe the lyfer along, the longer it femed 
Among the rich rayes, &c. ^ 

Our author, who probably could not get preferment, thus 
inveighs againft the luxury and diverfions of the prelates of 
his age. 

faries in large quantities, which now are 
fupplied by frequent trading towns : and 
the mention of 6eiffes and muhons, which 
were falted oxen and fheep, Ihews that at 
fo late a period they knew but little of 
breeding cattle. Their ignorance of fo 
important an article of huibandry, is alfo 
an evidence, that in the reign of Henry 
the eighth the ftate of population was much 
lower among us than we may imagine. 

In the ftatutes of Saint Mary Ottery's 
college in Devonshire, given by bifhop 
Grandifon the founder, the ftewards and 
facrift are ordered to purchafe annually 
two hundred pounds of wax for the choir 
of the college, at this fair. " Cap. 
*' Ixvii. — Pro luminaribus vero omnibus 
" fupradidis inveniendis, etiam ftatuimus, 
" quod fenefcalli fcaccarii per vifum et auxi- 
** Hum facrifte, omni anno, in nundinis 
" Wynton, vel alibi apud Toryngton et 
" in partibus Barnftepol, ceram fufficien- 
** tem, quam ad ducentas libras aeftimamus 
*' pro uno anno ad minus, faciant pro- 
*' videri." Thefe ftatutes were granted in 
the year 1338. MS. apud Regiftr. Priorat. 
S. Svvithin. Winton. In Archiv. Wolvef. 
In the accompts of the Priories of Maxtoke 
in Warwickftiire, and of Bicefter in Ox- 
fordshire, under the reign of Henry the 
fixth, the monks appear to have laid in 
yearly ftores of various yet common necef- 
faries, at the fair of Sturbridge in Cam- 
bridgefhire, at leail one hundred miles 
diflant from either monaftery. It may feem 
furprifing, that their own neighbourhood, 
including the cities of Oxford and Coven- 
try, could not fupply them with commodi- 
ties neither rare nor coftly, which they 
thus fetched at a confiderable expence of 
carriage. It is a rubric in fome of the 

monaftic rules, De Euntihus ad Nundinas. 
See Dugd. Mon. Angl. ii. p. 74.6. It is 
hoped the reader will excufe this tedious 
note, which at leaft developcs aniient man- 
ners and cuftoms. 

* LefTon. Properly a Grammar, from 
^^lius Donatus the grammarian. Chaucer, 
Tellam. L. p. 504. b. edit. Urr. " Nopaf- 
" fef to vertues of this Margarite, but ther- 
*' in al my do<iet can I lerne." In the fta- 
tutes of Winchertcr-college, [written about 
1386,] grammar is called " Antiquus do- 
*• natus." i. e. the old donat, or the name of 
a fyftem of grammar at that time in vogue, 
and long before. The French have a 
book entitled " Le Don net, trf.ite de 
" grammaire, bailie a feu roi Charles viii." 
Among Rawlinfon's manufcripts at Oxford, 
I have feeft Donatas opti?nus tio'viter compi- 
latus, a manufcript on vellum, given to 
Saint Alban's, by John Stoke, abbot, in 
1 450. In the introduftion, or lytell Proheme, 
to Dean Colet's Grammatices Rudi- 
ment a, we find mention made of " cer- 
" tayne introducyons into latyn fpeche call- 
** ed Donates, &c." Among the books 
written by bilhop Pecock, there is the Do- 
NAT iJito chriflian religion, and the Folo^wer 
to the Do NAT. Lewis's Pecock, p. 317. 
I think I have before obferved, that John of 
Bafing, who flourifhed in the year 1 240, 
calls hisGreekGrammarDoNATus Gr^- 
CORUM. Pegge's Weseh AM, p. 51. Wyn- 
kyn de Worde printed Donatus ad An- 
glic an arum fc hoi arum ufum. Cotgrave (in 
V.) quotes an old French proverb, " Les 
" diables eftoient encores a leur Don at, 
" The devils ivere but yet in 4 heir gram* 
" mar:^ 

^ fol. xxiii. a. b. 

Vol. I. 

O o 




And now is religion a rider, a romer by the flreete, 

A leader of lovedayes ' and a loude "' beggar, 

A pricker on a palfrey from maner to maner. 

An heape of houndes at his arfe as he a lord were ". 

And yf but his knave knele, that fhall hys cope bryng. 

He loured on hym, and afked who taught hym curtefye °.. 

There is great piflurefque humour in the following lines. 

HuNGER in heft tho hent waftour by the maw. 

And wrong him fo by the wombe that both his eies watered : 

' Levadles. Ladies. "' Lewd. 

" Walter de Suffield, bifhop of Norwich, 
bequeathes by will his pack of hounds 
to the king, in 1256. Blomefield's Norf. 
ii. 347. See Chaucer's Monkc, Prol. v. 
165. This was a common topic of fatire. 
It occurs again, fol. xxvii. a. See Chaucer's 
Testament of Love, p. 492. col. ii. 
Urr. The archdeacon of Richmond, on 
his vifttation, comes to the priory of Brid- 
lington in Yorkfhire, in 1 2 1 6, with ninety- 
feven horfes, twenty-one dogs, and three 
hawks, Dugd. Mon. ii. 65. 

° Fol. 1. a. The following prediftion, 
although a probable conclufion, concerning 
a king, who after a time would fupprefs 
the religious houfes, is remarkable. I ima- 
gined it was foifted into the copies, in 
the reign of king Henry the eighth. But 
it is in manufcripts of this poem older than 
the year 1400. fol. 1. a. b. 


confefTe your religions. 
And bete you as the bible telleth, for brek- 

ing of your rule : 
And amende moniales, mwikes and cha.- 

noines. — 
And then friers in her freytor Ihall fynd a 

Of Conftantynes coffers, in which is the 

That Gregories godchyldren had it dif- 


And than fhall the abotof Abingdon, and 
all his ifTue for ever, 

Have a knocks of a king, and in- 
curable THE WOUND. 

Again, fol. Ixxxv. a. Where he alludes to- 
the knights-templers, lately fuppreffed. 

Men of holie kirke 

Shall turne as templars did, ti>e tyme ap'- 
procheth nere. 

This, I fuppofe, was a favourite doftrine 
in Wickliffe's difcourfes. I cannot help tak- 
ing notice of a paffage in Piers Plowman, 
which fhews how the reigning paflion for 
chivalry infe£led the ideas and expreffions 
of the writers of this period. The poet is 
defcribing the crucifixion,, and fpeaking of 
the perfon who pierced our Saviour's iide 
with a fpear. This perfon our author calls a 
knight, and fays that he came forth, " luith 
" his fpere in hand, andjujied ivith jfe/usJ* 
Afterwards for doing fo bafe an a£l as that 
of wounding a dead body, he is pronounced 
adifgrace to knighthood : and our " Cham- 
*' pion chenjolier chje/e knyght" is Ordered' 
to yield himfelf recreant, fol. Ixxxviii. b. 
This knight's name is Longis, and he is 
blind : but receives his fight from the blood 
which fprings from our Saviour's fide. 
This miracle is recorded in the Golden 
Lecende, He is called Longias, " A 
** blinde knight men ycallid Longias," 
in Chaucer, Lam, Mar. Magd. v. 177. 



He buffeted the breton about the chekes 
That he loked lyke a lanterne al his life after \ 

And in the following, where the Vices are reprefented as 
converted and coming to confelTion, among which is the 
figure of Envy. 

Of a freres froke were the fore ileves, 

And as a leke that hath lied long in the funne 

So looked he with leane chekes, lowering foule ^ 

It would be tedious to tranfcribe other ftrokes of humour 
with which this poem abounds. Before one of the Vifions 
the poet falls afleep while he is bidding his beads. In ano- 
ther he defcribes Antichrift, whofe banner is borne by Pride, 
as welcomed into a monaftery with ringing of bells, and a 
folemn congratulatory proceflion of all the monks marching 
out to meet and receive him \ 

Thefe images of Mercy and Truth are in a different flrain. 

Out of the weft coft, a wenche as me thought, 
Come walking in the way, to hevnward fhe loked ; 
Mercy hight that mayde, a meke thyng withall, 
A full benigne byrde, and buxome of fpeech j 
Hyr fyfter, as yt feemed, came worthily walking, 
Even out of thefte, and weftward ihe loked, 
A ful comely creature. Truth fhe hyght. 
For the vertue that her folowed afered was fhe never, 
When thefe maydens mette, Mercy and Truth, 
Eyther alked other of this gret marvel, 
Of the din and of the darknes, &c *. 

' fol. xxiii. b. s fol. xlii. a. ^ fol. cxii. a. -^ fol. ixxxviii, b, 

O o 2 The 


The imagery of Nature, or Kinde, fending forth his 
difeafes from the planets, at the command of Conscience, 
and of his attendants Age and Death, is conceived with 
fublimity. ^ 

Kynde Conscience then heard, and came out of the planetts. 

And fent forth his forriours Fevers, and Fkixes, 

Coughes, and Cardiacles, Crampes, and Toth-aches, 

Reumes, and Radgondes, and raynous Scalles, 

Byles, and Botches, and burnynge Agues, 

Frenefes and foule Evill, foragers of Kynde ! 

Ther v/as " Harowe ! and Helpe ! here cometh Kynde ! 

" With Death that is dreadfull, to undo us all !" 

The lord that lyveth after luft tho aloud cried. — 

Age the hoore, he was i?i the vaw-ward^ 

Arid bare the banner before Death : by ryght he it claimed. 

Kynde came after, with many kene fores. 

As Pockes and Peflilences, and much people fhent. 

So Kynde through corruptions, kylled full many : 

Death came dryvyng after, and all to duft pafhed 

Kyngs and Kayfers, knightes and popes. 

Many a lovely lady, and lemman of knightes, 

Swoned and fwelted for forowe of Death's dyntes. 

Conscience, of his curtefye, to Kynde he befoght 

To ceafe and fufire, and fe v/here they wolde 

Leave Pride prively, and be perfite chriften, 

And Kynde ceafed tho, to fee the people amende ^ 

Thefe lines at leafl put us in mind of Milton's Lazar- 
houfe ". 

Immediately a place 

Before his eyes appeared, fad, noifome, dark : 
A lazar-houfe it feem'd, wherein were laid 
Numbers of all difeas'd : all maladies 

' fol. cxiii. a. " Pai. L. ii. 475. 



Of gailly fpafm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-fick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulfions, epilepfies, fierce catarrhs, 
Inteftine ftone, and ulcer, cholic pangs, 
Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy, 
And moon-ftruck madnefs, pining atrophy, 
Marafmus, and wide-wafting Peftilence : 
Dropfies and afthma, and joint-racking rheum. 
Dire was the Toiling ! Deep the groans ! Despair 
Tended the fick, bufy from couch to couch : 
And over them triumphant Death his dart 
Shook, but delay'd to ftrike, &c. 

At length Fortune or Pride fends forth a numerous army 
led by Lust, to attack Conscience. 

xA.nd gadered a greate hofte, all agayne Conscience : 

This Lechery led on, with a laughyng chere. 

And with a privye fpeeche, and paynted wordes, . 

And armed him in idlenefs and in high bearyng. 

He bare a bowe in his hand, and many bloudy arrowes. 

Were fethered with faire beheft, and many a falfe truth ''. 

Afterwards Conscience is befieged by Antichrift, and feven 
great giants, who are the feven capital or deadly fms : and 
the afTault is made by Sloth, who condu6ls an army of more 
than a thoufand prelates. 

It is not improbable, that Longland here had his eye on 
theoid French Roman d'Antechrist, a poem written by 
Huon de Meri, about the year 1228. The author of this 
piece fuppofes that Antichrift is on earth, that he vifits 
every profeffion and order of life, and finds numerous par- 
tifans. The Vices arrange themfelves under the banner of 
Antechrist, and the Virtues under that of Christ. 

"" Ibid. 



Thefe two armies at length come to an engagement, and the 
battle ends to the honour of the Virtues, and the total 
defeat of the Vices. The banner of Antichrist has before 
occurred in our quotations from Longland. The title of 
Huon de Meri's poem deferves notice. It is Turnoyement 
DE l'Antechrist. Thcfe are the concluding lines. 

Par fon droit nom a peau cet livre 
Qui trefbien s'avorde a 1' efcrit 
Le I'ournoiement de /' Antechrijl, 

The author appears to have been a monk of St. Germain 
dcs Pres, near Paris. This allegory is much like that which 
we find in the old dramatic Moralities. The theology of 
the middle ages abounded with conje6lures and controverfies 
concerning Antichrift, who at a very early period was com- 
monly believed to be the Roman pontiff *. 

* See this topic dlfculTed with fingular penetration and perfpicuity, by doflor Hur*, 
in Twelve Sermons iNTRODVCTORy to the Study of the Prophecies. 
Lend. 1772. p. 206. feq. 




TO the Vision OF Pierce Plowman has been commonly 
annexed a poem called Pierce the Plowman's Crede, 
and which may properly be confidered as its appendage *. 
It is profefledly written in imitation of our Vision, but by 
a different hand. The author, in the character of a plain 
uninformed perfon, pretends to be ignorant of his creed;, 
to be infl:ru6led in the articles of which, he applies by turns 
to the four orders of mendicant friars. This circumftancc 
affords an obvious occafion of expofing in lively colours the 
tricks of thofe focieties. After fo unexpe6led a difappoint- 
ment, he meets one Pierce, or Peter, a plowman, who re- 
folves his doubts, and teaches him the principles of true 
religion. In a copy of the Crede lately prefented to me 
by the bifliop of Gloucefter, and once belonging to Mr. 
Pope, the latter in his own hand has inferted the following 
abftra6l of its plan. " An ignorant plain man having learned 
** his Pater-nofler and Ave-mary, w^ants to learn his creed. 
" He afks feveral religious men of the feveral orders to teach 
" it him. Firll of a friar Minor, who bids him beware of 
the Carmelites, and afTures him they can teach him no- 
thing, defcribing, their faults, &c. But that the friars 
^ Minors fhall fave him, whether he learns his creed or not. 

^ The firft edition is by R. Wolfe, Lon- edit. 1 561 . Walter Britte, or Brithe, a fol- 

don, 1553, 4'^ In four fheets. It was re- lower of WicklifFe, is alfo mentioned, Sig- 

printed, and added to Rogers's, or the nat. C. iii. Britte is placed by Bale in 

fourth edition of the r/^o«, 1561. It was 1390. Cent. vi. 94. See alfo Fuller's 

evidently written after the year 1384. Worth, -p. S. ^Fales. The reader will par- 

Wickliffe died in that year, and he is men- don this fmall anticipation for the fake of 

tioned as no longer living, in Signat. C. ii. connexion. 








He goes next to the friars Preachers, whofe magnificent 
monaflery he defcribes : there he meets a fat friar, who 
declaims againft the Auguftines. He is fliocked at his 
pride, and goes to the Auguftines. They rail at the Mi- 
" norites. He goes to the Carmes j they abufe the Domini- 
cans, but promife him falvation without the creed, for 
money. He leaves them with indignation, and finds an 
honeft poor Plowman in the field, and tells him how he 
was difappointed by the four orders. The plowman an- 
fwers with a long inveftive againft them." 
The language of the Crede is lefs embarrafifed and ob- 
fcure than that of the Vision. But before I proceed to a 
fpecimen, it may not be perhaps improper to prepare the 
reader, by giving an outline of the conftitution and cha- 
ra6ler of the four orders of mendicant friars, the obje6l of 
our poet's fatire : an enquiry in many refpe6ls conne6led 
with the general purport of this hiftory, and which, in this 
place at leaft, cannot be deemed a digreffion, as it will il- 
luftrate the main fubjeft, and explain many particular paf- 
fages of the Plowman's Crede ^ 

Long before the thirteenth century, the monaftic orders, 
as we have partly feen in the preceding poem, in confequence 
of their ample revenues, had degenerated from their primi- 
tive aufterity, and v/ere totally given up to luxury and indo- 
lence. Hence they became both unwilling and unable to 
execute the purpofes of their eftablifhment : to inftru6t the 
people, to check the growth of herefies, or to promote in 
any refpe6l the true interefts of the church. They forfook 
all their religious obligations, defpifed the authority of their 
fuperiors, and were abandoned v/ithout fhame or remorfe to 
every fpecies of diflipation and licentioufnefs About the 
beginning therefore of the thirteenth century, the condition 
and circumftances of the church rendered it abfolutely ne- 

'■ And of fome perhaps quoted above from the Vision. 



cefTary to remedy thefe evils, by introducing a new order of 
religious, who being deftitute of fixed poffeflions, by the 
feverity of their manners, a profefTcd contempt of riches, 
and an unwearied perfeverance in the duties of preaching 
and prayer, might reftore refpe6l to the monaftic inftitution, 
and recover the honours of the church. Thefe were the four 
orders of mendicant or begging friars, commonly deno- 
minated the Ffancifcans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, 
and the Auguftines ^ 

Thefe focieties foon furpafTed all the reft, not only in the 
purity of their lives, but in the number of their privileges, 
and the multitude of their members. Not to mention the 
fuccefs which attends all novelties, their reputation arofe 
quickly to an amazing height. The popes, among other 
uncommon immunities, allowed them the liberty of travel- 
ling wherever they pleafed, of converfing with perfons of 
all ranks, of inftru6ling the youth and the people in general, 
and of hearing confeflions, without referve or reilri6lion : 
and as on thefe occafions, which gave them opportunities 
of appearing in public and confpicuous fituations, they ex- 
hibited more ftriking marks of gravity and fanftity than were 
obfei'vable in the deportment and condudl of the mem- 
bers of other monalteries, they were regarded with the 
highefl efleem and veneration throughout all the countries 
of Europe. 

In the mean time they gained flill greater refpe6l, by cul- 
tivating the literature then in vogue, with the greateft afli- 
duity and fuccefs. Gianoni fays, that moft of the theolo- 

'' The Francifcans were often ftyled Francifcans at Canterbury. Thefe two 

friars-minors, or minorites, and grey-friais: v/ere the moft eminent of the four orders, 

the Dominicans, friars-preachers, and fome- The Dominican friary at Oxford flood in 

times black-friars. The Carmelites white- an ifland on the fouth of the city, fouth- 

friars ; and the Auftins grey-friars. The weft of the Francifcan friary, the fite of 

ftrft eftabliftiment of the Dominicans in which is hereafter defcribed. 
England was at Oxford in 1221. Of the 

Vol. I. P P gical 



gical profefTors in the univeiTity of Naples, newly founded 
in the year 1220, were chofcn from the mendicants'. They 
were the principal teachers of theology at Paris, the fchool 
where this fcience had received its origin ^ At Oxford and 
Cambridge refpedlively, all the four orders had fiourifhing 
monafleries. The mofl learned fcholars in the univerfity 
of Oxford, at the clofe of the thirteenth century, were 
Francifcan friars : and long after this period, the Francifcans 
appear to have been the fole fupport and ornament of that 
univerfity ^ Hence it was that bifhop Hugh de Balfliam, 
founder of Peter-houfe at Cambridge, orders in his ftatutes 
given about the year 1280, that fome of his fcholars flaould 
annually repair to Oxford for improvem.ent in the fciences ^. 
That is, to ftudy under the Francifcan readers. Such was 
the eminence of the Francifcan friary at Oxford, that the 
learned bifhop Grofthead, in the year* 1253, bequeathed all 

* Hift. Nap. xvi. 3. 

* See Boul. Hift. Academ. Parif. iii. p. 
J 38. 240. 244. 248, &c. 

8 This circumftance in fome degree 
TOufed the monks from their indolence, and 
induced the greater monafteries to procure 
the foundation of fmall colleges in the uni- 
verfities for the education of their novices. 
At Oxford the monks had alfo fchools 
which bore the name of their refpeftive 
orders : and there were fchools in that uni- 
verfity which were appropriated to par- 
ticular raonafteries. Kennet's Paroch. Ant. 
p. 214. Wood, Hift. Ant. Univ. Oxon.i. 
J 19. Leland fays, that even in his lime, 
at Stamford, a temporary univerfity, the 
names of halls inhabited by the novices of 
Peterborough, Sempringham, and Vaul- 
drey abbies, were remaining. Itin. vi. p. 
21. And it appears, that the greater part 
of the proceeders in theology at Oxford 
and Cambridge, juft before the reformation, 
were monks. But we do not find, that in 
confcquence of all thefe efforts, the monks 
made a much greater figure in literature. 

In this rivalry which 'fubfifted between, 
the mendicants and the monks, the latter 
fcmetimes availed themfelves of their 
riches : and with a view to attraft popula- 
rity, and to eclipfe the growing luftre of 
the former, proceeded to their degrees in 
the univerfities with prodigious parade. In 
the year 1298, William de Brooke, a Be- 
nedidine of St. Peter's abbey, at Glou- 
cefter, took the degree of doftor in divi- 
nity at Oxford. He was attended on this 
important occafion by the abbot and whole 
convent of Gloucefter, the abbots of Weft- 
minfter, Reading, Abingdon, Evefham,. 
and Malmefbury, with one hundred noble- 
men and efquirei, on horfes richly capari- 
foned. Thefe were entertained at a fump- 
tuous feaft in the. refeftory of Gloucefter 
college. But it fhould be obferved, that 
he was the firft of the Benedidtine order 
that attained this dignity. Wood, Hift. 
Ant. Univ. Oxon. i. 25. col. 1. See alfo 
Stevens, Mon. 1. 70. 

'' " De fcholaribus emittendis ad univer- 
*• iitatem Oxonieprodo«ilrina." Cap. xviii.. 




his books to that celebrated feminary *. This was the houfc 
in which the renowned Roger Bacon was educated ; who 
revived, in the midil of barbarifm, and brought to a confi- 
derable degree of perfe6tion the knowledge of mathematics 
m England, and greatly facilitated many modern difco- 
veries in experimental philofophy ''. The fame fraternity is 
likewife faid to have ftored their valuable library with a 
multitude of Hebrew manufcripts, which they purchafed 
of the Jews on their banifliment from England '. Richard 
de Bury, biiliop of Durham, author of Philobiblon, and 
the founder of a library at Oxford, is prolix in his praifes 
of the mendicants for their extraordinary diligence in col- 
ledling books *". Indeed it became difficult in the beginning 
of the fourteenth century to find any treatife in the arts, 
theology, or canon law, commonly expofed to fale ; they 
were all univerfally bought up by the friars \ This is men- 
tioned by Richard Fitzralph, archbifhop of Armagh, in his 
difcourfe before the pope at Avignon in 1357, their bitter 
and profefTed antagonift ; who adds, without any intention 
of paying them a compliment, that all the mendicant con- 
vents wore furniflied with a " grandis et nobilis libraria °. 
Sir Richard Whittington built the library of the Grey 
Friars in London, which was one hundred and twenty-nine 

' Leland, Script. Brit. p. 283. This 
houfe flood jull without the city walls, near 
Little-gate. The garden called Paradife 
was their grove or orchard. 

^ It is probable, that the treatiies of 
many of Bacon's fcholars and followers, 
colle£led by Thomas Allen in the reign of 
James the firll:, ftill remain among the ma- 
nufcripts of Sir PCenelm Digby in the Bod- 
leian library. 

' Wood, nbi fupr. i. 77. col. 2. 

■" Philobibl. cap. v. This book was- 
wiitten 1344. 

" Yet I find a decree made at Oxford, 
where thefe orders of friars flourifhed fo 
greatly, in the year 1373, to check the ex- 

cejjt-ve multitude of perfons felling books in 
the univerfitv without licence. Vet. Stat. 
Univ Oxon. D. fol. 75. Archiv. Bodl. 

» MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Propofitio coram 
papa, &c. And MSS. C. C. C. Oxon. 182. 
Propofitio coram, Sec. See a tranflation of 
this Sermon by Trevifa, MSS. Harl. 1900. 
fol.Peroram. 2. Seef. i i. See alfo Brov/r.e's 
append. Fafcic. Rei-. expetcnd. fugicnd. 
ii. p. 466. I believe this difcourfe has been 
printed twice or thrice at Paris. In which, 
fays the archbifhop, there were thirty thou- 
fand fcholars at Oxford in my youth, but 
now (1357,) fcarce fixthoufand. At Ben- 
net in Cambridge, there is a curious nianu- 
fcript of one of Fitzrauf 's Sermons, in the 

P p 2 firit 


feet long, and twelve broad, with twenty-eight defks ''. About 
the year 1430, one hundred marks were paid for tranfcribing 
the profound Nicholas de Lyra, in two volumes, to be 
chained in this library ^ Leland relates, that John Wallden, 
a learned Carmelite, bequeathed to the fame library as many 
manufcripts of approved authors, written in capital roman 
charadlers, as were then eftimated at more than two thou- 
fand pieces of gold '. He adds, that this library, even in 
his time, exceeded all others in London for multitude of 
books and antiquity of copies '. Among many other in- 
fiances which might be given of the learning of the mendi- 
cants, there is one which greatly contributed to eftablifli 
their literary chara6ler. In the eleventh century, Ariftotle's 
philofophy had been condemned in the univerfity of Paris 
as heretical. About a hundred years afterwards, thefe preju- 
dices began to fubfide j and new tranflations of Ariftotle's 
writings were publifhed in Latin by our countryman Michael 
Scotus, and others, with more attention to the original Greek,, 
at leaft without the pompous and perplexed circumlocutions 
which appeared in the Arabic verlions hitherto ufed. In- 
the mean time the mendicant orders fprung up : who hap- 
pily avaihng themfelves of thefe new tranflations, and making 
them the conftant fubjeft of their fcholaftic leftures, were 
the firft who revived the do6trines of this philofopher, and 
acquired the merit of having opened a new fyftem of fcience '. 
The Dominicans of Spain were accomplifhed adepts in the- 

fiift leaf of which there is a drawing of four p Stowe's Surv. Lend. p. 255. edit. 1599, 

devils, hugging four mendicant friars, one ^ s Stowe, ibid. p. 256. Stevens, Monall. 

of each of the four orders, with great fa- i. 112. 

miliarity andaffeaion. MSS.L. 16. This ' Aurei. 

book belonged to Adam Efton, a very / Script. Brit. p. 441. And Colleaan, 

learned Benediftine of Norwich, and a iii. P- 52. 

witnefs againft WickclifFe at Rome, where ' See Joann. Laun. de varia Ariftotel. 

he lived the greateft part of his life, in Fortun. in Acad. Parif. p. 78. edit. Parif. 

137c. 1662. 




learning and language of the Arabians; and were employed 
by the kings of Spain in the inftru6lion and converfion of 
the numerous Jews and Saracens who rcfided in their domi- 
nions \ 

The buildings of the mendicant monafteries, efpecially m 
England, were remarkably magnificent, and commonly much' 
exceeded thofe of the endowed convents of the fecond mag- 
nitude. As thefe fraternities were profeifedly poor, and 
could not from their original inflitution receive eflates, the 
munificence of their benefaftors was employed in adorning^ 
their houfes v/ith ftately refe6lories and churches : and for 
thefe and other purpofes they did not want addrefs to pro- 
cure multitudes of patrons, which was facilitated by the 
notion of their fuperior fan6litv. It was fafliionable for 
perfons of the highell: rank to bequeath their bodies to be 
buried in the friary churches, which were confequently filled 
with fumptuous fhrines and fuperb monuments ''. In the 

" R. Simon's Lett. Choif. torn. iii. p.i i 2. 
They ftudied the arts of popular enter- 
tainment. The mendicants, I believe, 
were the only religious in England who 
afted plays. The Creation of the 
World, annually performed by the Grey 
friars at Coventry, is ftill extant. See 
fupr. p. 92. 243. And they Teem to have 
been famous abroad for thefe exhibitions. 
Gualvanei de la Fiamma, who flourifhed 
about the year 1340, has the following 
curious paflage in his chronicle of the 
VicECOMiTEs of Milan, publiflied by 
Muratori. In the year 1336, fays he, on 
the feaft of Epiphany, the hrrt feall of the 
three kings was celebrated at Milan, by 
the convent of the friars preachers. The 
three kings appeared crowned on three 
great horfes, richly habited, furrounded by 
pages, body-guards, and an innumerable 
retinue. A golden ftar was exhibited in 
the fky, going before them. They pro-- 
ceeded » the pillars of S. Lawrence, where 
king Herod was reprefented with his fcribes 
and.vife-men. The three kings alk Herod, 

where Chrlft fhould be born : and his wife- 
men having confulted their books, anfwer 
him at Bethlehem. On which, the three 
kings with their golden crowns, having in' 
their hands golden cups filled with fran- 
kincenfe, myrrh, and gold, the ftar ftill 
going before, maahed to the church of 
S. Euftorgius, witli all their attendants;, 
preceded by trumpets and horns, apes, ba- 
boons, and a great variety of animals. lii' 
the church, on one fide of the. high altar,, 
there was a manger with an ox and an afs, 
and in it the infant Chrift in the arms 0^ 
his mother. Here the three kings oifer 
their gifts, &c. The concourfe of the peo- 
ple, of knights, ladies, and ecclefiaftirs, , 
was fuch as never before was beheld, &c. 
Rer. Italic. Scriptor. torn. xii. col. 1017. 
D. fol. Mediolarr. 1728. Compare p. 249.. 
fupr. This feaft in the ritual is called Tie 
feaft of the Star. Joan. Epifcop. Abrinc. 
de Offic. Eccl. p. 30, 

* Their churches were efteemed more 
facred than others. 




noble church of the Grey friars in London, finiflied in the 
year 1325, but long fmce deftroyed, four queens, befides 
upwards of fix hundred perfons of quality, were buried, 
whofe beautiful tombs remained till the diflblution ". Thefe 
interments imported confiderabie fums of money into the 
mendicant focieties. It is probable that they derived more 
benefit from cafual charity, than they would have gained 
from a regular endowment. The Francifcans indeed enjoyed 
from the popes the privilege of diflributing indulgences, a 
valuable indemnification for their voluntary poverty \ 

On the whole, two of thefe mendicant inftitutions, the 
Dominicans and the Francifcans, for the fpace of near three 
centuries, appear to have governed the European church and 
ilate with an abfolute and univerfal fway : they filled, during 
that period, the moft eminent ecclefiafticai and civil ftations, 
taught in the univerfities with an authority which filenced 
all oppofition, and maintained the difputed prerogative of 
the Roman pontiff againfc the united influence of prelates 
and kings, with a vigour only to be paralleled by its fuccefs. 
The Dominicans and Francifcans were, before the Reforma- 
tion, exadly what the Jefuits have been fince. They difre- 
garded their monaftic chara6ler and profefiion, and were 
employed, not only in fpiritual matters, but in temporal 
affairs of the greatefl confequence j in compofmg the dif- 
ferences of princes, concluding treaties of peace, and con- 
certing alliances : they prefided in cabinet councils, levied 
national fubfidies, influenced courts, and managed the ma- 
chines of every important operation and event, both in the 
religious and political world. 

From what has been here faid it is natural to fuppofe, that 
the mendicants at length became univerfally odious. The 
high efteem in which they were held, and the tranfcendent 
degree of authority which they had affumed, only ferv|d to 

" Weav. Fun. Mon. p. 388. ^ See Baluz. Mifcellan. torn. iv. 490. vli. 392. 



render them obnoxious to the clergy of every rank, to the 
monafleries of other orders, and to the univerfities. It was 
not from ignorance, but from a knowledge of mankind, 
that they were a6tive in propagating fuperftitious notions, 
which they knew were calculated to captivate the multitude, 
and to ftrengthcn the papal intereflj yet at the fame time, 
from the vanity of difplaying an uncommon fagacity of 
thought, and a fuperior (kill in theology, they affected no- 
velties in do6lrine, which introduced dangerous errors, and 
tended to Ihake the pillars of orthodoxy. Their ambition 
v/as unbounded, and their arrogance intolerable. Their en- 
creafmg numbers became, in many dates, an enormous and 
unweildy burthen to the commonwealth. They had abufed 
the pov/ers and privileges which had been entrufted to 
them 3 and the common fenfe of mankind could not long be 
blinded or deluded by the palpable frauds and artifices, 
which thefe rapacious zealots fo notorioufly pra6lifed for 
enriching their convents. In England, the univerfity of 
Oxford refolutely refifted the perpetual encroachments of the 
Dominicans ^ j and many of our theologifts attacked all the 
four orders with great vehemence and feverity. Exclufive of 
the jealcufies and animofities which naturally fubfifted be- 
tween four rival inftitutions, their vifionary refinements, 
and love of difputation, introduced among them the mofl 
violent difTenfions. The Dominicans aimed at popularity, 
by an obflinate denial of the immaculate conception. Their 
pretended ianclity became at lengtli a term of reproach, and 
their learning fell into difcredit. As polite letters and ge- 
neral knowledge encreafed, their fpeculative and pedantic 
divinity gave way to a more liberal turn of thinking, and 
a more perfpicuous mode of writing. Bale, who was himfelf 
a Carmelite friar, fays, that his order, which was eminently 
diflinguiflied for fcholaflic erudition, began to lofe their 
ellimation about the year 1460. Some of them were impru- 

* Wood, ut fupr. i. 150. 154. igO. 




dent enough to engage openly in political controverfy ; and 
the Auguftines deftroyed all their repute and authority in 
England by feditious ferrnons, in which they laboured to 
fupplant the progeny of Edv/ard the fourth, and to ellablifh 
the title of the ufurper Richard \ About the year 1530, 
Leland vifited the Francifcan friary at Oxford, big with the 
hopes of iindhig, in their celebrated library, if not many 
valuable books, at lead thofe which had been bequeathed by 
the learned bifliop Grofthead. The delays and difficulties 
with which he procured admittance into this venerable re- 
pofitory, heightened his curiofity and expe6lations. At 
length, after much ceremony, being permitted to enter, 
inftead of an ineftimable treafure, he faw little more than 
empty (helves covered with cobv/ebs and duft ^ 

After fo prolix an introduction, I cannot but give a large 
quotation from our Crede, the humour and tendency of 
which will now be eafily underftood : and efpecially as this 
poem is not only extremely fcarce, and has almofi: the rarity 
of a manufcript, but as it is fo curious and lively a p:6lure 
of an order of men who once made fo confpicuous a figure 
in the world. 

For firfl I frayned " the freres, and they me full tolden, 
That al the fruyt of the fayth, was in her foure orders, 
And the cofres of chriftendom, and the keie bothen 
And the lock of byleve \ lyeth locken in her hondes 

Then wennede " I to wytte, and with a whight I mette 
A Minoure in amorwetide, and to this man I faide, 

* Newcourt, Repert. i. 289. 

* Leland defcribes this adventure with 
fome humour. " Contigit ut copiam pete- 
'* rem videndi bibliothecam Francifcano- 
" rum, ad quod obftreperunt afini aliquot, 
•' rudentes nuUi prorfus mortalium tam 
" fanftos aditus et receflus adire, nifi Gar- 
" diano et facris fui collegii baccalariis. 
•* Sed ego urgebam, et principis deplomate 
" raunitus, tantum non coegi ut facraria 

** ilia aperircnt. Turn unus e majoribus 
" afmis multa fubrudens tandem fores segre 
" referavit. Summe Jupiter quid ego illic 
" inveni ? Pulverem autem inveni, telas 
" aranearum, tineas, blattas, fitum denique 
*' et fquallorem. Inveni etiam et libros, fed 
" quos tribus obolis nonemerem." Script. 
Brit. p. 286. 

' Aflced. ^ Belief. 

^ Thought. 



cefTary to remedy thefe evils, by introducing a new order of 
religious, who being deftitute of fixed pofTeflions, by the 
feverity of their manners, a profefTcd contempt of riches, 
and an unwearied perfeverance in the duties of preaching 
and prayer, might reftore refpe6l to the monaftic inftitution, 
and recover the honours of the church. Thefe were the four 
orders of mendicant or begging friars, commonly deno- 
minated the Francifcans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, 
and the Auguftines ^ 

Thefe focieties foon furpafled all the reft, not only in the 
purity of their lives, but in the number of their privileges, 
and the multitude of their members. Not to mention the 
fuccefs which attends all novelties, their reputation arofe 
quickly to an amazing height. The popes, among other 
uncommon immunities, allowed them the liberty of travel- 
ling wherever they pleafed, of converfing with perfons of 
all ranks, of inftru6ling the youth and the people in general, 
and of hearing confeflions, without referve or reftri(5lion : 
and as on thefe occafions, which gave them opportunities 
of appearing in public and confpicuous fituations, they ex- 
hibited more ftriking marks of gravity and fan6lity than were 
obfervable in the deportment and conduct of the mem- 
bers of other monafteries, they were regarded with the 
higheft efteem and veneration throughout all the countries 
of Europe. 

In the mean time they gained ftill greater refpedl, by cul- 
tivating the literature then in vogue, with the greateft afli- 
duity and fuccefs. Gianoni fays, that moft of the theolo- 

^ The Francifcans were often ftyled Francifcans at Canterbury. Thefe two 

friars-minors, or minorites, and grey-friars: were the moft eminent of the four orders, 

the Dominicans, friars-preachers, and fome- The Dominican friary at Oxford flood in 

times black-friars. The Carmelites white- an ifland on the fouth of the city, fouth- 

friars ; and the Auftins grey-friars. The weft of the Francifcan friary, the fite of 

rirft eftablifhment of the Dominicans in which is hereafter defcribed. 
England was at Oxford in 1221. Of the 

Vol. I. P p gical 



gical profefTors in the univerfity of Naples, newly founded 
in the year 1 220, were chofen from the mendicants *. They 
were the principal teachers of theology at Paris, the fchool 
where this fcience had received its origin ^ At Oxford and 
Cambridge refpedlively, all the four orders had flourifliing 
monafteries. The moil learned fcholars in the univerfity 
of Oxford, at the clofe of the thirteenth century, were 
Francifcan friars : and long after this period, the Francifcans 
appear to have been the fole fupport and ornament of that 
univerfity ^ Hence it was that bifliop Hugh de Balfliam, 
founder of Peter-houfe at Cambridge, orders in his ftatutes 
given about the year 1280, that fome of his fcholars fhould 
annually repair to Oxford for improvement in the fciences ^^ 
That is, to ftudy under the Francifcan readers. Such was 
the eminence of the Francifcan friary at Oxford, that the 
learned bifhop Groflhead, in the year 1253, bequeathed all 

* Hift. Nap. xvi. 3. 

' See Boul. Hift. Academ. Parif.. ill. p. 
138. 24.0. 244. 248, &c. 

f This circamftance in fome degree 
roufed the monks from their indolence, and 
induced the greater monaftepies to procure 
the foundation of fniall colleges in the uni- 
verfuies for the education of their novices. 
At Oxford the monks had alfo fchools 
which bore the name of their refpeftive 
orders : and there were fchools in that uni- 
verfity which were appropriated to par- 
ticular monafteries. Kennet's Paroch. Ant. 
p. 214. Wood, Hift. Ant. Univ. Oxon. i. 
119. Leland fays, that even in his lime, 
at Stamford, a temporary univerfity, the 
names of halls inhabited by the novices of 
Peterborough, Sempringham, and Vaul- 
drcy abbies, were remaining. Itin. vi. p. 
81. And it appears, that the greater part 
of the proceeders in theology at Oxford 
and Cambridge, juft before the reformation, 
were monks. But we do not find, that in 
confequence of all thefe efforts, the monks 
made a much greater figure in literature. 

In this rivalry which fubfifted belweeh^ 
the mendicants and the monks, the latter 
fometimes availed themlelves of their 
riches : and with a view to attraft popula- 
rity, and to eclipfe the growing luftre of 
the former, proceeded to their degrees in 
the univeifities with prodigious parade. la 
the year 1298, William de Brooke, a Be- 
nedidine of St. Peter's abbey, at Glou- 
cefter, took the degree of dodtor in divi- 
nity at Oxford. He was attended on this 
important occafion by the abbot and whole- 
convent of Gloucefter, the abbots of Weft- 
mlnfter, Reading, Abingdon, Eveftiam, 
and Malme/bury, with one hundred noble- 
men and efquires, on horfes richly capari- 
foned. Thefe were entertained at a fump- 
tuous feaft in the refe£lory of Gloucefter 
college. But it fliould be obferved, that 
he was the firft of the Benediftine order 
that attained this dignity. Wood, Hift,. 
Ant. Univ. Oxon. i. 25. col. 1. See alfo 
Stevens, Mon. 1. 70. 

^ •' De fcholaribus emittendis ad univer- 
•* fitatemOxonieprododlrina." Cap. xviii.. 




his books to that celebrated feminary *. This was the houfe 
in which the renowned Roger Bacon was educated ; who 
levived, in the midfl of barbarifm, and brought to a confi- 
derable degree of perfe6lion the knowledge of mathematics 
in England, and greatly facilitated many modern difco- 
veries in experimental philofophy ''. The fame fraternity is 
likewife faid to have llored their valuable library with a 
multitude of Hebrew manufcripts, which they purchafed 
of the Jews on their banifliment from England '. Richard 
de Bury, bifhop of Durham, author of Philobiblon, and 
the founder of a library at Oxford, is prolix in his praifes 
of the mendicants for their extraordinary diligence in col- 
lecting books ". Indeed it became difficult in the beginning 
of the fourteenth century to find any treatife in the arts, 
theology, or canon law, commonly expofed to falej they 
were all univerfally bought up by the friars ". This is men- 
tioned by Richard Fitzralph, archbifliop of Armagh, in his 
difcourfe before the pope at Avignon in 1357, their bitter 
and profefTed antagonift ; who adds, without any intention 
of paying them a compliment, that all the mendicant con- 
vents wore furnifhed with a " grandis et nobilis libraria °. 
Sir Richard Whittington built the library of the Grey 
Friars in London, which was one hundred and twenty-nine 

• Leland, Script. Brit. p. 283, This 
houfe ftood juft without the city walls, near 
Little-gate. The garden called Paradi/e 
was their grov^e or orchard. 

^ It is probable, that the treatiies of 
many of Bacon's fcholars and followers, 
coUefted by Thomas Allen in the reign of 
James the firfl, ftill remain among the ma- 
nufcripts of Sir Kenelm Digby in the Bod- 
leian library. 

' Wood, ubi fupr. 1. 77. col, 2. 

■' Philobibl. cap. v. This book was 
written i 344. 

" Yet i find a decree made at Oxford, 
where thefe orders of friars flourifhcd fo 
greatly, in the year 1373, to check the ex- 

cejji-ve multitude of perfons felling books in 
the univerfity without licence. Vet. Stat. 
Univ Oxon. D. fol. 75. Archiv. Bodl. 

" MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Propofitio coram 
papa, &c. And MSS. C. C. C. Oxon. 182. 
Propofitio coram, &c. See a tranflation of 
this Sermon by Trevifa, MSS. Harl. 1900. 
fol.Pergam. 2. Seef. i i. See alfo Browne's 
append. Fafcic. Rer. expetend. fuglcnd. 
ii. p. 466, I believe this difcourfe has been 
printed twice or thrice at Paris. In which, 
fays the arch bifhop, there were thirty thou- 
fand fcliolars at Oxford in my youth, but 
now (1357,) fcarce fix thoufand. At Ben- 
net in Cambridge, there is a curious manu- 
fcript of one of Fitzrauf 's Sermons, in the 

P p 2 firit 


feet long, and twelve broad, with twenty-eight delks ^\. About 
the year 1430, one hundred marks were paid for tranfcribing 
the profound Nicholas de Lyra, in two volumes, to be 
chained in this hbrary \ Leland relates, that John Wallden, 
a learned Carmelite, bequeathed to the fame library as many 
manufcripts of approved authors, written in capital roman 
chara6lers, as were then eftimated at more than two thou- 
fand pieces of gold '. He adds, that this library, even in 
his time, exceeded all others in London for multitude of 
books and antiquity of copies \ Among many other in- 
ftances which might be given of the learning of the mendi- 
cants, there is one which greatly contributed to eftablifll 
their literary chara6ler. In the eleventh century, Ariftotle's 
philofophy had been condemned in the univerfity of Paris 
as heretical. About a hundred years afterwards, thefe preju- 
dices began to fubfide 5 and new tranflations of Ariftotle's 
writings were publifhed in Latin by our countryman Michael 
Scotus, and others, with more attention to the original Greek, 
at leaft without the pompous and perplexed circumlocutions 
which appeared in the Arabic verfions hitherto ufed. In 
the mean time the mendicant orders fprung up : who hap- 
pily availing themfelves of thefe new tranflations, and making 
them the conftant fubjeft of their fcholaftic leftures, were 
the firft who revived the doftrines of this philofopher, and 
acquired the merit of having opened a new fyftem of fcience '„, 
The Dominicans of Spain were accompliflied adepts in the 

fiift leaf of which there is a drawing of four p Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 255. edit. 1599^ 

devils, hugging four mendicant friars, one *! Stowe, ibid. p. 256. Stevens, Monalt. 

of each of the four orders, with great fa- i. 1 12. 

miliarity and afFe